Ex-UZ chancellor’s trial to restart in September

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Former UZ vice-chancellor Levi Nyagura

BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
THE trial of former University of Zimbabwe (UZ) vice chancellor Levi Nyagura, who is accused of single-handedly issuing former first lady Grace Mugabe with a PhD degree, is expected to restart on September 30, 2022.

The trial was stopped after the elevation of the presiding magistrate Munamato Mutevedzi to the judge of the High Court.

The trial had seen more than four witnesses testifying, with the Higher and Tertiary Education ministry distancing itself from being the complainant of the case.

Nyagura could escape the charges after some of the witness passed on such as Claude Mararike, while Tichaendepi Masaya is now farming in Nyanga after retiring from UZ, where he was a dean as well as lecturing.

The former UZ vice-chancellor had been on remand for almost two years after the trial had been stopped and the State had been reluctant to remove him from remand despite no intention to continue with the trial.

On Friday, prosecutor Lancelot Mutsokoti indicated that he and Tapiwa Godzi, a prosecutor from the Special Anti-Corruption Unit, had not discussed on how the matter would proceed and asked the court for a longer remand.

Magistrate Stanford Mambanje granted the application for further remand, saying Nyagura should be treated the same way as the other accused whose cases were being presided over by Mutevedzi.

Some of the cases included Priscah Mupfumira’s case, which was postponed to September 30 for a possible trial restart.

The State alleges that sometime in 2011, Nyagura undermined the authority of the UZ department board and the faculty higher degrees committee and personally accepted and approved Grace Mugabe’s application to study for a PhD in Sociology, which was against academic guidelines and values of the university.

Nyagura allegedly abused his position since Grace did not meet the minimum requirements to study for the degree.

Grace was conferred with the PhD in 2014.

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