LONDON: A top Zimbabwean musician Alton Edwards and Alistair Abrahams, a well known UK based Zimbabwean music promoter, were dragged to court accused of forging a will in a bitter inheritance dispute that was heard before the Chancery Division of the High Court in London.
The dispute concerns the will of the late Clementine Edwards, who died in Zimbabwe in 2015.
In the disputed will allegedly made on 22 November 2011, she appointed Alistair Abrahams as the executor and bequeathed her entire UK estate including a property known as 72 Golders Mena Dr, Golders Green London, and all bank accounts and insurance policies to Alton Edwards, her nephew.
The will provides that 12 and half per cent of her entire Zimbabwean estate was to go to Jairos Jiri and the Frederick Caley Cottages in Arcadia , Harare, in equal shares. The residue of her estate in Zimbabwe is given to her nephews and nieces in equal shares.
Alton Edwards , the beneficiary of the estate in the United Kingdom achieved stardom in the 1980s when his song “I Just Wanna (Spend Some Time)” reached the top 20 charts in the UK and topped the charts in several European cities. His close friend, the appointed Executor, Alistair Abrahams, was a manager of the world-famous Osibisa musical group in the 1980s.
In in the proceedings the claimant, the aunt of Alton Edwards, Barbara Cook, (nee Edwards) alleged that the disputed will was not made by Clementine Edwards and that her (Clementine’s) signature was forged.
She engaged a world famous forensic expert to give an opinion on whether the signature is a forgery. She is also calling several witnesses, some of whom gave evidence via video link from Zimbabwe, including her uncle, Daniel Mbidzo who was a confidante of the deceased.
Alton Edwards and Alistair Abrahams, strenuously contested the allegations against them and had made an application to have the matter adjourned, but this was turned down by the Judge in London.
Members of the Arcadia Community who knew Clementine Edwards say she was devoted to charitable work in the Arcadia Community. She established a park in Arcadia using her own resources and in collaboration with the City of Harare and the Botanical Gardens.
Before her death she had founded the Lady of Hope Charity, whose headquarters was to be located at no 5 Milnterton Crescent Arcadia, Harare , a property which has since been sold by the executor, Alistair Abrahams , acting in terms of the disputed will.