Another one bites the dust…

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Phil Parry is a former BBC news and current affairs reporter. He is winner of the BT Wales award for journalist of the year, BT Wales TV reporter of the year and radio reporter of the year.
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Another suspension at Swansea University

It has emerged that ANOTHER senior official has been suspended at a scandal-hit Welsh university where a top-level investigation is being conducted into a questionable multi-million pound land deal, The Eye can reveal.

This now brings the total number who are the subject of formal inquiries to six, including the former Vice-Chancellor (VC) Richard Davies and the Dean of his controversial School of Management Marc Clement.

Gerry Ronan with Mark Drakeford and Marc Clement – suspended?

Officials will not name the figure but we understand from internal sources it is Gerry Ronan the Head of Intellectual Property at Swansea University.

The Eye were the first to break the news that the unparalleled suspension of Professor Daviesas well as his officials, and the astonishing investigation launched at the same time, was linked to a massive £200 million regeneration scheme called the Delta Lakes (Llanelli Wellness Village) City Deal.

The ‘university’ project in Kuwait – legal action may follow

Apart from the ‘Wellness’ village, the university’s involvement in another enormous plan in Kuwait is also being examined.

Senior officers are looking into a ‘joint venture’ in a £600 million proposal for a private medical university and hospital in Kuwait, which aimed to attract 5,000 students.

Suspended former Vice-Chancellor of Swansea University Richard Davies and the School of Management Dean Marc Clement – a ‘witch-hunt’?

Professors Davies and Clement, were on the proposed academic board for the project and the controversial former Carmarthenshire Council Chief Executive, Mark James, is listed as a trustee.

But Swansea University is no stranger to bad headlines.

Our journalists have shown that Steve Chan, who officials had employed on a contract at its management school, was jailed in America after a massive fraud.

He had been imprisoned by a court in Boston for four years and three months, and ordered to pay millions of dollars in compensation.

Steve Chan – why did Swansea University employ a convicted fraudster?

His jail term was followed by three years of supervised release, after he admitted one count of conspiracy to commit fraud and one count of mail fraud – he was also ordered to pay restitution of $12,596,298.

Yet on March 1 2016 Chan appeared as a panellist representing Swansea University at a St. David’s Day event in Brussels called Digital Destination:  Creating Value and Improving Lives’.

The promotion before the conference said:  “Swansea University is delighted that Professor Steve Chan will take a leadership role in driving the Big Data agenda forward for Swansea University’s School of ManagementProfessor Steve Chan is the Chair of the Cyber Analytics and Network/Relationship Science Centre at Swansea University and the Chair of Smarter Cities for a Safer Planet and the Internet of Things at Swansea University’s School of Management”.

Who is ‘Your friend’?

Since the extraordinary initial suspensions an underhand dirty tricks campaign has been launched internally at the university.

Anonymous gmails in support of the land deals marked from ‘Your friend’, have been sent to senior officials as well as to the First Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford, and the chair of Swansea University’s council Sir Roger Jones.

The campaign inside Swansea University’s School of Management has been totally ignored by the mainstream media

On the very day it emerged that a fifth senior executive was under investigation the campaign was stepped up.

As before, the gmail was sent to Sir Roger, and came from ‘Your friend’, although it had been delivered using yet another different created ‘address’, “The iniquities Of the selfish”.

It posed a series of tendentious questions to staff, including:  “Not even 17 weeks ago your university was tarnished beyond belief. And to what purpose? If there was criminality why are you footing the bill for an ever-expanding witch-hunt? It has got to the point where those who started must find something to justify their folly…”.

‘Your friend’ says Sir Roger Jones should look into it

During the campaign which is designed to undermine the probe at Swansea, many different gmail addresses have been used including ‘Saint Homobonus’, ‘Lilith Sumerian’ and ‘Ivs Titia’.

In part, one recent gmail to staff and Sir Roger read:   “Why are these things happening and being leaked to Sion Barry (the Western Mail Business Editor) and, in turn, (our Editor) Phil Parry (someone trolling Professor Hillary {sic} Lappin-Scott (the Pro Vice-Chancellor {PVC}) whilst in the middle of an independent internal investigation?”.

Is it a ‘kangaroo court’ as said in the anonymous gmail campaign?

Another added:  “Appended below you can find the previous installments (American spelling) and alleges there has been “A trial by media, a kangaroo court, a selection of evidence and suspensions before interviews – almost as if the facts were at odds with the desired outcome”.

Although mis-spelt a further gmail was clear: “Please Hillary (sic) (Lappin-Scott) out (put?) your hat back in the ring!”.

Does ‘Your friend’ know the law?

In one of the internal gmails following revelations about the Kuwait project which forms part of the investigation and was headlined ‘destruction of value and relationships’, a series of unlawful claims against a named individual were made, and among the few lines we can publish is:  “I am confident we should expect retaliation by the Kuwaitis”.

We can also be confident we have not heard the last of the investigation at Swansea University – six suspensions and counting…

 

Book posterAlso on The Eye – why Mr James has been sent an email describing him as “appalling” and “beneath contempt”.

Our Editor Phil Parry’s memories of his extraordinary 35-year award-winning career in journalism as he was gripped by the incurable disabling condition Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia (HSP), have been released in a major new book A Good Story’. Order the book now. The picture doubles as a cut-and-paste poster!

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