Huge blow for Nyagura

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FORMER University of Zimbabwe vice chancellor Levi Nyagura has suffered a huge blow after the High Court dismissed his acquittal bid in a case he is accused of unlawfully granting former first lady Grace Mugabe a doctorate.

In a judgment delivered by Justice Felicia Chatukuta on September 2, Nyagura’s application was struck off for failing to comply with High Court rules that regulate how such applications are filed.

Nyagura had approached the High Court for review of Chief Magistrate Munamato Mutevedzi’s ruling dismissing his application for quashing the abuse of office charges.

Chatukuta ruled that Nyagura’s founding affidavit filed in the application was defective as it was a duplication of his heads of argument.

“The applicant pleaded the law extensively in his founding affidavit. Seven pages of the applicant’s 13-page founding affidavit contain entire sections of provisions of the University of Zimbabwe Act, Criminal Law (Codification and Reform Act), Administrative Justice and Companies Act quoted verbatim,” Chatukuta ruled.

“The applicant then proceeds to explain each of the sections and the averments are therefore not concise and simple. They are argumentative and are better placed in heads of argument.

“Because the averments are argumentative and inferential, there is very little difference between the applicant’s founding affidavit and heads of argument … applicant simply copied and pasted almost 90 percent of the averments of the founding affidavit into his heads of argument.

“In light of the above, I find that there is no proper founding affidavit before the court. It is accordingly ordered that the application be and is hereby struck off.”

When his trial started at the Harare Magistrates’ Courts, Nyagura made an application seeking the dismissal of the charges on the basis that they were not in accordance with the law.

He argued that the granting of the PhD was done by the UZ and not himself as a person. However, his application was dismissed.

Nyagura said there was no personal liability under the UZ Act, as compared to the Companies Act.
“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 argued.

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