Publication: Independent Online Issued: Date: 2007-05-23 Reporter: Amelia Naidoo Reporter: Greg Arde

Chippy Shaik Dares UKZN to Prove Claims



Independent Online




Amelia Naidoo
Greg Arde

Web Link


Chippy Shaik has asked the University of KwaZulu-Natal to provide him with a prima facie case that he plagiarised his mechanical engineering doctorate.

Yunus Shaik, Chippy's brother and attorney, said the former Fulbright scholar had learnt about the plagiarism allegations in the newspaper *1 at the weekend.

"Chippy is the author of the papers he is supposed to have plagiarised *2. We've approached the university to give us all the evidence it has gathered. We'd like to know who did the investigation, when they did it and what information was put before the investigator."

Shaik said the university had not responded to his demand for the information.

"We take issue with their process. Chippy was never given an opportunity to confront the allegation. *3 The result is that he has already been found guilty in a process that he is blissfully unaware of and now he has to defend his reputation."

Shaik maintains the funding his brother received was a bona fide research grant.

Yesterday, Shaik's former professor, Viktor Verijenko, sent an e-mail to colleagues at the university slating allegations that he had conspired with Chippy in plagiarising. He resigned from the institution on Monday.

He described the initial Sunday Times report on the matter as "defamatory and no more than a vulgar attempt to embarrass me and my esteemed colleague, as well as smear the name of my ex-student, "Shamim' Shaik".

Verijenko said senior staff within the university had leaked information to the press *4 with no regard for the rights of the people involved or the damage caused to the university name. Politics, he said, was behind the smear campaign against him. *5 The academic also said he had been harassed by authorities and some circles within the university during the past two years.

The professor criticised the university's management for using internal processes to give credence to the untested allegations.

There was no specific allegation, or hard evidence to substantiate the claims of plagiarism, collusion or any improper relationships with Chippy, argued Verijenko.

Chippy was entitled to use the articles in his thesis as co-author.

It was unfortunate, he said, that the university had reported that there was "foundation" to the allegations. "Who and by what means was this 'foundation' established?"

Fellow academic Richard Young's complaints were also rubbished as a serious insult to the academic integrity of the university. *6

"How can Young review a thesis and rubbish it with the assistance of our staff? Are the professors of the university not the appropriate people to evaluate a thesis?" he asked.

He further argued that Young was not a specialist in the area Chippy had studied.

The professor who had investigated Chippy's apparently plagiarised thesis had a "well-documented acrimonious relationship" with Verijenko, the academic said.

He said the professor was in the same field as Young and they knew each other well. *7

Verijenko has requested that all information pertaining to his disciplinary inquiry be sent to his attorneys, but said he had received no correspondence from (sic) to date.

Because of recent tragic events related to the professor's family, he had decided they would spend more time abroad than originally planned. This had reinforced his original decision to resign in January, he said.

This article was originally published on page 3 of The Mercury on May 23, 2007

With acknowledgements to Greg Arde, Amelia Naidoo and Independent Online.

*1      This us a lie. The newspaper had a meeting with Chippy Shaik's appointed representative at 14:00 on Friday 18 May 2007, where the nature of the allegations were explained and a right of reply offered. This right of reply was taken up and Yunis Shaik furnished the Sunday Times with an extensive response on Saturday 19 May 2007. This was even published on the Sunday Times website very early on Sunday morning at the same time as the published story.

*2      Second lie. The allegation is that Chippy copied this paper into his thesis, but still declared that the thesis was his owned unaided work. The plagiarised material is derived from at least another five journal papers where Shaik is not an author.

*3      There is nothing wrong with the UKZN's process. It is a two-part process. The first establishes the prima facie position and indictment, the second part is the tribunal. The second part is coming soon.

*4      Wrong - an outside agent and the press furnished senior staff within the university with information related to a plagiarised degree.

*5      Wrong again - academic standards, integrity and credibility are the only motives of the outside agency. These plus the objective to sell newspapers by publishing the truth in the public interest are the motives of any newspaper.

*6      Now what is the meaning of this?

*7      Absolute bull manure.