Zacc says Grace (PhD) innocent, only targeting corrupt university officials

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THE Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) has denied its renewed pursuit of University of Zimbabwe (UZ) officials accused of fraudulently awarding former First Lady, Grace a PhD would lead to her eventual arrest.

Grace, in 2014 graduated with the top academic accolade and was capped by her husband who, as President, was then Chancellor of the State institution.

There were questions over the short time she reportedly completed her research with reports that her thesis was not available in the UZ library.

Following Mugabe’s ouster November last year, Zacc denied any plans to open investigations into possible academic fraud by the controversial former First Lady.

However, recent events that have seen UZ Vice Chancellor Levy Nyagura’s arrest with Professor (UZ) lecturer Professor Claude Mararike also targeted for a similar probe have given rise to beliefs that Grace was the anti-graft body’s ultimate catch.

But Zacc chair in charge of the investigations committee, Goodson Nguni, told Wednesday the current probe will not lead to a Grace arrest, adding she could have been an innocent beneficiary of a fraudulent academic degree.

“There is no evidence to probe Grace. Grace is not a University of Zimbabwe official; she does not know the rules of how people are granted PhDs.

“We are investigating those people who knew the regulations and who fraudulently did whatever they did,” Nguni said.

He added: “If you go to a company on the internet called Pacific University, they award PhDs after small examinations which are not recognised by anybody.

“If someone decides to go and buy a degree from them, they cannot be charged for that.

“So we are not probing Grace, we are probing those university authorities who violated university regulations.”

Nguni denied an arrest on the Vice Chancellor of the university should ordinarily lead to a similar arrest on ex-President Mugabe, who was the Chancellor of the university at the time.

“A Chancellor does not run the university. It is the Vice Chancellor who does,” Nguni said.

In his interview with journalists while attending the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland recently, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said his government has not extended any immunity from prosecution towards Grace.