The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZAAC) is investigating University of Zimbabwe (UZ) lecturer Professor Claude Mararike on allegations of abuse of office for fraudulently awarding a Doctor of Philosophy degree to former First Lady Grace Mugabe.In an interview yesterday, ZACC spokesperson Ms Phyllis Chikundura confirmed the developments.
“He is under investigation and he faces arrest once investigations have been completed,” she said. On Saturday, UZ Vice Chancellor Levi Nyagura, who was arrested for allegedly illegally awarding Mrs Mugabe the PhD, was granted $200 bail by a Harare magistrate. The bail conditions include surrendering his passport to the court, residing at his stated Borrowdale address in Harare and not interfering with State witnesses — Professor Rudo Gaidzanwa and Drs Julius Museveni, Watch Ruparanganda and one Sadomba.
Nyagura is expected back in court on March 5. He was charged with abuse of office when he appeared before Harare magistrate Mrs Tilda Mazhande, an allegation he refuted. Last Friday, ZACC arrested Nyagura for allegedly awarding Mrs Mugabe the PhD without university council and senate approval.
Mrs Mugabe was supervised by Prof Mararike. Nyagura recently ridiculed lecturers in the Department of Sociology for challenging the awarding of the contentious doctorat describing them as “ignorant Messrs and doctors” lacking capacity to supervise a PhD student.
Supervised by Prof Mararike, Mrs Mugabe graduated with the Doctor of Philosophy in the Faculty of Social Studies in September 2014. The arrest of Nyagura came after a Harare magistrate had issued a warrant empowering ZACC to search and seize all documents relevant to its probe on whether or not he corruptly awarded Mrs Mugabe the doctorate.
The documents ordered to be availed included Dr Mugabe’s pre-registration application form, her research proposal submitted to the Department of Sociology, minutes of the departmental board assigning a supervisor to Mrs Mugabe, academic certificates of her supervisor, minutes showing that the doctoral degree passed through the Academic Committee, and minutes of the UZ senate recommending to the university council the conferment of the doctorate on Mrs Mugabe.
The university was directed to allow ZACC access to minutes of the University Council recommending to the University Chancellor the conferment of the doctorate on Mrs Mugabe, copies of progress reports at the Post Graduate Centre, copies of contract of research assistant and contract of teaching assistant in respect of Mr Justice Tandire.
ZACC was also to be furnished with the UZ Faculty Ordinance number 44, UZ quality assurance guidelines and benchmarks for management and supervision of higher degrees by research, General Academic Regulations for Post-Graduate Degrees of the university of Zimbabwe 1998/99 Volume 11, as well as copies of the transcript, notification and Doctor of Philosophy Degree awarded to Mrs Mugabe.
UZ has since filed an urgent chamber application at the High Court to set aside the search warrant, arguing that it was illegal.