‘Plagiarist’ Chippy Shaik stripped of UKZN degree

2008-03-02 00:00

THE Shaiks are again dominating headlines after the University of KwaZulu-Natal stripped the youngest of the Shaik brothers, Chippy, of his doctorate, demoting him to simply “Mr Chippy Shaik”.

This decision to withdraw Shaik’s doctorate was reached by the university’s senate after an extensive international forensic investigations by the university, following an exposé by a Sunday paper nine months ago, alleging that he stole other people’s work to get his 2003 PhD in Mechanical Engineering.

The paper accused him of copying the work of five international professors by having their work translated into English.

Two of the professors are Ukraine-born Viktor Verijenko, who was his supervisor for the thesis, and VG Piskunov, who was his external examiner.

While Shaik was the chief of acquisitions of the government’s arms procurement in the ’90s — a project that drew a lot of attention and controversy around its alleged contribution in the multi-billion rand arms deal — Verijenko headed the school of mechanical engineering, which meant heading the biggest research projects in the arms industry for the university.

The two men’s relationship has been reported in newspapers as being “mutually beneficial”.

Verijenko resigned straight after the news of plagiarism first surfaced in May last year and now Shaik, the brother of convicted businessman Schabir Shaik — who lost his battle against charges of fraud — is forced to lay down his title of honour and hand over the certificate in question.

However, Shaik and brother Yunis, who is acting as his attorney, plan to challenge the matter in the high court.

The investigations were led by the engineering faculty’s higher education degrees committee and, according to a Sunday Times report, it found that Shaik’s thesis had been “plagiarised massively” and that in all probability, it was not Shaik’s own “unaided” work.

sphumem@witness.co.za

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