Harare – Suspended University of Zimbabwe (UZ) vice chancellor Levi Nyagura’s trial in a matter in which he is accused of illegally awarding former First Lady Grace Mugabe a PhD, has been put on hold pending the determination of his application at the Constitutional Court (Concourt).
Nyagura was supposed to stand trial in September following the dismissal of his application for referral of the case to the Concourt for lack of merit.
In his application for referral of the matter to the Concourt, Nyagura cited infringement of his constitutional rights to a fair trial.
Having lost the application, Nyagura then filed an application to bring his constitutional challenge before the Concourt bench directly in terms of Section 85(1) of the Constitution.
Representing the State, Tapiwa Godzi from the President’s Special Anti-Corruption Unit said since Nyagura had filed his application at the Concourt, proceedings at the lower court should be halted. Nyagura is appearing before Harare magistrate Lazini Ncube.
Nyagura, through his lawyers however argued that Tapiwa Godzi and Michael Chakandida both from the President’s Special Anti-Corruption Unit, who are representing the State, have no authority to prosecute.
He said the Acting Prosecutor-General, by granting the pair authority to prosecute when they are not employees of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), was in breach of the accused’s right to the equal protection and benefit of the law, as well as the right to a fair trial.
Godzi submitted that Section 5 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act gives the PG powers acting independently to issue authority to prosecute to a certain category of people that included any legal practitioner.
The court concurred with the State’s submissions and ruled in its favour.
Nyagura is being accused of illegally awarding the Doctor of Philosophy degree to the former first lady without the approval of both the University Council and the Senate Committee.