Grace Mugabe's 'fake' PhD: Suspended professor's ConCourt application thrown out

Zimbabwe's Constitutional Court reportedly threw out an application by suspended University of Zimbabwe's (UZ) vice chancellor to challenge the legality of the special anti-corruption unit involved in his prosecution for awarding Grace Mugabe a PhD illegally.

According to New Zimbabwe, Levi Nyagura's trial failed to take place on Wednesday after he laid a challenge against the legality of the special prosecutors appointed to handle his case, calling their involvement a violation of his constitutional rights and right to a fair trial.

His Constitutional Court application reportedly said the appointment of Tapiwa Godzi and Michael Chakandida contravened the country's supreme law according to which the National Prosecution Authority and Prosecutor General should be independent and not taking orders from the president.

"Their (special prosecutors') salaries are paid by the president; they are bound by the Official Secrets Act," Nyagura's lawyer Lewis Uriri was quoted as saying by New Zimbabwe.

However, Harare Magistrate Lazini Ncube did not agree.

"It is not clear how the accused person will be deprived of his rights. There is no evidence as to how this specialised anti-corruption investigative unit will trample upon the rights of the accused person. The Prosecutor General can appoint any legal practitioner to perform the powers he wants," Ncube ruled as quoted by News Day.

Ncube reportedly added that it was his "considered view that this application is vexatious and has no merits to be referred to the ConCourt".

According to the state-owned Herald, it is alleged that Nyagura did not consult members within the sociology department about Mugabe's application to do a Phd in 2011, he also appointed a supervisor for her without consultation with the board and later on in 2014 she supposedly defended her thesis without knowledge and approval from the academic committee.  

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