HomeNewsGrace PhD saga: Trial date set

Grace PhD saga: Trial date set

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THE trial of former University of Zimbabwe (UZ) vice-chancellor Levi Nyagura on charges of unprocedurally conferring former First Lady Grace Mugabe (pictured) with a Doctor of Philosophy Degree (PhD) is set to commence on November 24.

BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE

Prosecutor Michael Chakandida yesterday told magistrate Munamato Mutevedzi that the State had handed over all the necessary documents to Nyagura’s lawyers, adding that the latter had consented to the commencement of trial.

Nyagura, who retired last year had approached the High Court for review after Mutevedzi dismissed his application for exception to the charge.
He had challenged the State saying the degree in question remained extant and its validity could not be put in question by the criminal process since section 7 of the University of Zimbabwe Act reposes the power to rescind and set aside degrees in the chancellor, in this case the State President.

The former UZ boss also submitted that the matter was administrative and had no criminal sanction. He further said the case had no complainant, adding that wrong remedies had been pursued since the criminal court had no jurisdiction to entertain the matter.

Allegations are that sometime in 2011, Nyagura singlehandedly accepted and approved Grace’s application to study for a Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Sociology without the knowledge and recommendations of the Departmental Board and Faculty of Higher Degrees Committee in violation of UZ quality assurance, guidelines and benchmarks.

It is alleged during the same period, Nyagura covertly appointed professors Claude Mararike and a Chaneta to supervise Grace’s thesis without the knowledge and approval of the department board of sociology.

Nyagura allegedly led supervisors and examiners to Grace’s Mazowe Estate where the defence oral examination was purportedly done without the knowledge and approval of the academic committee. Ideally, the oral examination was supposed to be done on campus.

He allegedly abused his position by showing favour to Grace who did not meet the minimum requirements to study for the degree. It is alleged Nyagura’s action had the negative effect of compromising the standards of the country’s education system.

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