11 April 2019

Zimbabwe: Grace Degree - Nyagura Exception Application Dismissed

Harare Magistrate, Lazini Ncube has dismissed former University of Zimbabwe Vice Chancellor Levi Nyagura's application against trial saying his arguments were baseless.

Nyagura stands accused of abusing his powers as a public officer, after he favoured former First Lady with a doctorate degree she never studied for.

The academic had excepted to his charge, arguing that the Chancellor of all universities, President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his predecessor, former President Robert Mugabe should be in the dock for sustaining and conferring the degree respectively.

Nyagura argued he had no powers to confer the degree adding the fact that Mnangagwa did not revoke it meant it is still valid.

But the Magistrate ruled his arguments were "triable" issues and groundless.

"It is not the duty of the State to prove that the degree in question is valid or not. It is not for the State to deal with an adminstrative misconduct.

"The possibility of it being revoked has nothing to do with criminal proceedings," ruled the magistrate.

Through his lawyer Advocate Sylvester Hashiti, Nyagura had argued against his trial.

"The current Chancellor Dambudzo Mnangagwa has not revoked this degree. The former Chancellor Robert Mugabe approved and conferred the degree.

"It remains valid at law and as such the process by which it was conferred remains valid. No criminal sanction can attach. His acts are prima face valid, " Hashiti told Ncube.

Nyagura also complained that none of the persons involved in the enrolment, tutelage, supervision, recommendation and conferment of the PhD have been brought before a court particularly the former and current Chancellors or relevant ministers.

He also said there is effectively no complainant in the matter. But the magistrate ruled: "it is just a defense."

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