Nyagura case postponed

HARARE - The case of University of Zimbabwe (UZ) vice chancellor Levi Nyagura, who is being charged with corruptly awarding a PhD to former first lady Grace Mugabe, has been postponed to June 22 pending his trial.

He appeared before Harare magistrate Rumbidzayi Mugwagwa on charges of criminal abuse of office.

Nyagura, through his lawyer Lewsi Uriri, had previously demanded that the investigations officer in his case ought to be called to explain how he formulated reasonable suspicion against him in the absence of documents linking him to the offence.

He also argued that there was no basis for going to trial on a case that had no complainant after the Higher Education ministry – cited as complainants – denied having association with the complaint lodged against Nyagura.

However, the application was thrown out and he is due to stand trial for the allegations.

“If the investigations officer who is the State witness were to be called by the State it would mean that the same State would have to cross examine their own witness. The State has clearly put out elements of the charge and linked each element to allegations that appear on the form 242,” the court ruled.

“Whether procedures were followed or not, those are trial issues but the court will rule that there is a reasonable suspicion that the accused person did what he is alleged to have done.”

According to State papers, sometime in 2011 Nyagura single-handedly accepted and approved Mugabe’s application to study for a PhD in Sociology without the knowledge of the Department Board and Faculty of Higher Degrees Committee.

The court heard that Nyagura then appointed professors Mararike and Chaneta to supervise Mugabe’s thesis without the board’s approval.

It was alleged that Nyagura further usurped powers and appointed examiners in violation of the University of Zimbabwe Act Chapter 25:16 and Ordinances 1998/99 volume 11 which gives that prerogative to the Senate Committee.

Sometime in 2014, Nyagura allegedly led supervisors and examiners to Mugabe’s Mazowe Estate where the defence oral examination was purportedly done without knowledge and approval of the academic committee.

According to State papers, the oral examination is supposed to be conducted at UZ premises.

Comments (1)

Please note there is no structure at the UZ or any other university called the 'Faculty of Higher Degrees Committee.' The correct name of the committee is 'Faculty Higher Degrees Committee' because it is a committee of the faculty which deals with higher degrees.

George - 22 June 2018

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