By Tarisai Machakaire
The Higher Education ministry — cited as the complainant against University of Zimbabwe (UZ) Vice Chancellor Levy Nyagura standing trial for allegedly corruptly awarding former first lady Grace Mugabe a PhD — has said it never lodged a query against the former Zanu PF Women’s League boss.
According to State papers, the permanent secretary in the Higher Education ministry one L Mudyiwa allegedly lodged a complaint against Nyagura, but the office denied making such a report in a letter addressed to Attorney General Prince Machaya.
“The ministry would like to register its complaint against Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc). The basis of the complaint is that, we note from court papers that Zacc has been citing the permanent secretary as the complainant in cases involving the UZ vice chancellor as the accused,” read the letter.
“The ministry would like to state that it is not aware of the issues and neither was it involved in making any complaints to Zacc or being involved in investigations leading to the accused person being arraigned before the court for criminal abuse of office…the ministry is not involved in academic issues.
“The issue is purely academic and is the domain of the university through the council or senate.
“The ministry only provides administrative oversight to the university and is not qualified to comment, make a determination or give an opinion on whether what was done by the accused person was a criminal offence or not.”
According to the letter, that decision ought to have been made by the University Council and Senate as supreme organs on academic issues.
“The ministry would like you as our lawyer to set the record straight since this is an issue which is already before the court.
“The court papers are defective in as far as they cite the wrong person as representing the complainant.
“The ministry never complained and does not intend to complain,” the letter reads.
On such basis, Nyagura claims that there was no reasonable suspicion warranting his arrest and further demanded that the investigating officer be brought to court to explain why he has been placed on remand yet there is no evidence linking him to the offence.
The investigating officer has also failed to acquire a warrant of search and seizure to look for documents that form the basis of the allegations pressed against Nyagura.
“The investigating officer must demonstrate the basis of the reasonable suspicion.
“The complainant is cited as permanent secretary of Higher Education ministry but has put it in writing that he is not the complainant and his ministry does not wish to be associated. Clearly, Zacc acted out of malice and brought the accused person to court,” Nyagura’s lawyer Lewis Uriri said.
The State will respond to Uriri’s submissions today.
According to State papers, sometime in 2011, Nyagura single-handedly accepted and approved Grace’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 Claude Mararike and one Chaneta to supervise Grace’s thesis without the board’s approval.
It was alleged that Nyagura further usurped powers and appointed examiners to 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 done at UZ premises. DailyNews