Grace fake degree: Nyagura given passport back, vows to challenge further remand

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University of Zimbabwe vice chancellor Levi Nyagura who is on criminal abuse of office charges has promised the state that he will challenge any further remand if he is not given a trial date on his next court appearance.

He gave the notice before Harare magistrate Tilda Mazhande after he successfully applied for temporary release of his passport as he intends to travel on a business trip abroad.

Nyagura was remanded to May 11 for his routine remand and he told court he feels the state has no evidence against him and is the reason it is taking long for him to be tried.

Nyagura is in trouble after he illegally awarded former First Lady Grace Mugabe a doctorate without following procedures in 2014.

The issue came about when senior academic staff in the department of sociology raised concerns regarding the process that was followed in awarding Grace the degree.

Nyagura, through his lawyers Advocate Lewis Uriri, also said the state has no case against him since even the ministry distanced itself from the controversy.

According to the state, the correct procedure according to the senior academic staff of the department is that a supervisor for a PhD student must be approved by the departmental board.

Only the board is mandated to accept applications and allocate supervisors to students in terms of general academic regulations for the post graduate degrees of UZ.

In this case the accused irregularly usurped the board’s powers and covertly appointed two professors to supervise Grace.

Meanwhile former Mines minister Walter Chidhakwa and mines secretary Francis Gudyanga were also remanded to the same date pending their trial.

They are both answering to criminal abuse of office as public officers.

Prosecutors allege that Chidhakwa authorised Gudyanga to sit on the ministry’s board alone, pocketing thousands of dollars which were meant for other members.

Gudyanga is in trouble for being a lone board member, and pocketing unlawful allowances and benefits.

The state said some staff who should have participated in the process were side-lined.