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CUE withdraws letter revoking recognition of Sakaja's degree

By Kamau Muthoni - Jun 22nd 2022

UDA Nairobi Governorship candidate Johnson Sakaja. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

The Commission on University Education (CUE) has recalled its letter revoking the recognition of Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja’s degree from Team University, Uganda even as High Court judge Jairus Ngaah urged the two to settle the saga out of court.

CUE in its reply to Sakaja’s case stated that it had reversed its decision but clarified that he is not yet out of the woods as it is investigating the authenticity of his academic documents.

 The commission’s chairperson Prof. Chacha Nyaigotti told the court that the case filed by the Nairobi governorship candidate cannot stand after the recall.

“The substratum of this suit, being the letter dated June 14, 2022, for which review is sought, is hereby withdrawn pending further investigations by the respondent, which investigations are currently ongoing,” said Nyaigotti.

At the same time, Nyaigotti faulted the judge for issuing the orders. He argued that the judge had powers to entertain the case as the issue was still under investigation.

According to him, CUE has an internal system to resolve disputes which the Senator did not invoke before approaching the court.

He asserted that Sakaja had a 30- day window period to approach the commission’s dispute resolution committee after which he ought to appeal the committee’s decision to the Education Cabinet Secretary George Maghoha if not satisfied.

“Regulation 85 of the Universities Regulations 2014, any person aggrieved by an act or decision of the respondent in the exercise of its powers as prescribed and who desires to question that act or decision, is required, within thirty days, to appeal in writing to the Commission in the first instance,” he said.

“If not satisfied with the decision of the Commission, appeal thereafter, to the Cabinet Secretary for the time being responsible for matters related to university education.”

Nyaigotti explained that CUE has received several complaints that Sakaja presented a forged degree. According to him, it was only fair for the court to allow the commission to complete its investigations.

He said: “It is improper for the applicant to call upon this court to pre-empt the outcome of the investigations. In any event, the letter complained about has been withdrawn.”

Meanwhile, Sakaja filed an application to have Nyaigotti arrested claiming that he had disobeyed court orders. The senator stated that the CUE chair had allegedly publicly summoned him even with court orders requiring status quo.

According to Sakaja, Nyaigotti alleged that the court orders would not stop the commission from conducting the probe.

“This statement in reiteration not only confirms the Contemnor’s contempt, disregard, and disobedience of the court orders but it also amounts to a direct challenge and dare of the authority of the court,” his lawyer Elias Mutuma said.

In this case, Sakaja argued that CUE revoked the degree for political purposes and mischief. His battle for clearance deepened after the universities regulator opted to reverse its earlier decision to recognize his papers.

According to the United Democratic Alliance’s (UDA) Nairobi governor candidate, CUE cleared him on June 6 and issued a confirmation letter.

On Wednesday, Justice Ngaah asked CUE and Sakaja to find a solution on the saga outside the corridors of justice.

“Do you think there is no alternative to this dispute other than the court? I highly recommend that you advise your client to settle this matter out of court,” posed Ngaah.

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