The trial of suspended University of Zimbabwe (UZ) Vice-Chancellor Levi Nyagura, accused of illegally awarding former First Lady Grace Mugabe a PhD kicked off today with him denying the charges.
His lawyer Advocate Tawanda Zhuwara tendered his defence outline before Chief Magistrate Mr Munamato Mtevedzi.
He said the accused pleads not guilty to the charge and will lead evidence to show that he did not contravene or act outside any university statute regulation or ordinance as regards the conferment by the faculty of Social Studies at the University of Zimbabwe of a doctor of philosophy degree to Mugabe.
Advocate Zhuwarara told the court that the conferment of a degree to Mugabe is an act accasioned by the relevant functionaries who acted within the discretion afforded to them.
“To the accused’s knowledge, the conferment of the application was done lawfully and in accordance with the latitudes afforded such functionaries.
The accused strongly denies any unlawful act or illicit intent in any of his actions or inactions as regards to award of a doctorate to Mugabe. In fact, the university, to date, has neither withdrawn, cancelled nor disowned the degree confered to her which is therefore, proof of the fact that it is aunthentic and deserved,” reads the defence outline.
He told the court that the accused did not appoint Justice Tandire as a research assistant for Mugabe’s thesis neither did the accused give any direction or command on how such research results and data would be handled.
Advocate Zhuwara said that the conferment of a degree to Mugabe is an act accasioned by the relevant functionaries who acted within the discretion afforded to them.