The damage-control machine that gathered around Zimbabwe’s First Lady Grace Mugabe this week is desperate to poke holes in the story of the young model who accused Mugabe of assaulting her with an extension cord.
They have acquired closed-circuit television footage which, they claim, shows Gabriella Engels (20) involved in a brawl at Sandton’s popular Taboo nightclub in the early hours of last Sunday morning, the day Mugabe allegedly assaulted her.
But Mugabe’s aides may not need it.
City Press understands that on Friday, Zimbabwe’s first couple was given assurances by senior government officials that she would not be charged over the assault.
Engels denied yesterday that she was involved in any such brawl: “Yes, I was at Taboo, but I was not involved in any fight.
“They are trying to discredit me. The fight that happened at Taboo on Saturday has nothing to do with my case,” she said, adding that it was a friend of hers who was involved in the brawl.
“I was not partying with the boys and I would prefer not to be commenting on my connections with Taboo.”
But two sources, one close to the Mugabe family and the other a regular at Taboo, told City Press this week that in the early hours of Sunday morning, Engels and a group of friends came to blows with another group of women inside the club.
The witness claimed he saw Engels and her friends with the Mugabe brothers, Robert junior and Chatunga Bellarmine, inside the club’s large VIP section.
They were drinking “lots” of French Champagne – including bottles of Verve Clicquot, which the club sells for R2 400 each, and Moët which it sells for R2 100.
There were also bottles of vodka and whisky on the table.