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Nyagura-Grace PhD saga to be heard by two judges

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By Mary Taruvinga

THE High Court review application filed by Former University of Zimbabwe (UZ) vice chancellor, Professor Levi Nyagura will now be heard by two judges following a successful request made by his lawyers.

Nyagura is facing criminal abuse of office after he in 2014, allegedly single-handedly awarded then First Lady, Grace Mugabe a Doctor of Philosophy Degree (PhD) she did not study for.

His review application was removed from the roll last week following his application to have the matter determined by two judges, instead of one.

Nyagura in April last year approached the High Court seeking an order to nullify acting chief magistrate Munamato Mutevedzi’s decision.

The magistrate had dismissed his application seeking to have charges against him quashed on grounds that the institution (UZ) was supposed to be charged not him alone.

His application was heard by Justice Priscilla Munangati-Manongwa on February 11, 2020 but his lawyer Advocate Sylvester Hashiti made an application to have the matter determined by two judges.

Manongwa upheld his application resulting in the case being struck off the roll and it will now be set down again.

Nyagura was arrested and charged under the University of Zimbabwe Act.

He however challenged the charge when his trial commenced before Mutevedzi.

He excepted to the charge arguing that it was not in accordance with the law.

“The State has no locus standi to institute the proceedings and the criminal court had no jurisdiction over the matter,” he said.

“The acts complained of remain valid under the maxim omnia praesumuntur rite esse act with the administrative authorities reposed with the powers to supervise decisions under the UZ Act stating that no criminal complaint arose in the matter,” Nyagura said.

The former UZ boss said favour and abuse was done by the higher learning institution but the magistrate dismissed his application, prompting him to lodge an appeal.

“The university and the chancellor are the answerable entities at law to decisions made by the university.

“The remedy against extant administrative decisions is an administrative as opposed to a criminal one. Allegations are incapable of constituting a criminal offence at law,” he said.

Nyagura said there is no personal liability under the UZ Act Chapter 25:16 as compared to the Companies Act.