Wicked news

0
148
Follow Me!

The Eye

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.
The Eye
Follow Me!

Latest posts by The Eye (see all)

Sacked former Vice-Chancellor of Swansea University Richard Davies and the ex-School of Management Dean Marc Clement are under investigation

A key figure who was dismissed from a scandal-hit university for “gross misconduct” and is with others at the heart of a major police investigation into alleged bribery during a huge controversial land deal, had strong links to a leading thinktank named after a celebrated former First Minister of Wales, it has emerged.

Senior executives at the Morgan Academy which says it addresses the “wicked issues” of public policy in Wales, are based at Swansea University’s headline-grabbing School of Management formerly led by dismissed Marc Clement, who along with the others has been targeted by the police in the top-level inquiry.

Helen Mary Jones – ‘no due process in Swansea University probe’

The Welsh Assembly Member Helen Mary Jones headed up the academy in the past and has recently said there had been “no due process” in the inquiry running alongside the police investigation which has resulted in the dismissals of Professor Clement and others from the management school.

Homes and offices in Wales and England have been raided by officers in their alleged bribery probe during the enormous multi-million pound Llanelli ‘Wellness’ village land deal, which Professor Clement was behind. Documents as well as computer equipment have been taken away.

The ‘Wellness’ village scheme had laudable aims – to improve the health and wellbeing of people across the area, as well as creating 2,000 high-quality jobs and boosting the economy by £467 million over 15 years. It had been described by its backers as the “largest ever regeneration project in South West Wales”. But it has been beset by controversy from the start.

The misnamed ‘Wellness’ village

In the inquiry into it that is now underway, South Wales Police have said the regional crime unit executed “a number of warrants as part of an investigation into alleged bribery offences”. Their searches were carried out by the Regional Organised Crime Unit Tarian and involved officers from South Wales, Dyfed Powys as well as Kent Police forces, and followed a complaint from Swansea University to the Serious Fraud Office in late 2018 which was referred to the police.

Electronic equipment was seized

A spokesperson said after the raids:  A number of documents and electronic equipment have been seized, which will now be subject to extensive examination. No arrests have been made, and the complex investigation remains ongoing”.

The Eye have been alone in naming ALL of the senior executives whose homes and offices have been raided.

Your friend
The anonymous computer campaign at Swansea University has also targeted our Editor

Meanwhile only partly covered by the mainstream media has been an extraordinary and highly-libellous anonymous computer campaign, which has supported the alarming project and condemned the examination of questionable facts, by sending messages to university staff, senior Welsh politicians and journalists. In one angry gmail from ‘Your friend’ our Editor Phil Parry was named as being against it.

A further gmail which was sent in the unbelievable dirty tricks operation claimed that previous messages were “blocked”, and alleged that a “witch hunt” was underway. This one was also addressed to the university’s council members and was headlined “More truth” – like others it had also come from a ‘Lilith Sumerian’ address.

The anonymous internal campagner said Sir Roger Jones should look into it

The scurrilous gmail included attachments and a section of it read:  “Last week’s email was blocked – here it is below for completeness’ sake. Ask yourself: what else is the leadership keeping from you?… Why is this witch hunt therefore still continuing?”.

Another message in the hours afterwards was, like the most recent ones, addressed to the Chair of the university council Sir Roger Jones, as well as staff, and attached a letter from ‘Your friend’ purportedly raising worries about public procurement. It said:  “Dear friends.  I write with concern … about Public Procurement Regulations”. This gmail was marked ‘Saint Homobonus’ and delivered from the address ‘patron of procurement’.

Our Editor Phil Parry was accused of being a troll

In part, one recent gmail to staff as well as the Chair of the Swansea University council 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 former Pro Vice-Chancellor {PVC}) whilst in the middle of an independent internal investigation?”.

Another added:  “Appended below you can find the previous installments (American spelling) and claims 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 again misspelt a further gmail was clear in the search for a new VC: “Please Hillary (sic) (Lappin-Scott) out (put?) your hat back in the ring!”.

Hilary Lappin-Scott was supported by ‘Your friend’

In one of the internal gmails, following disclosures about a ‘university’ project in Kuwait, which forms part of the investigation along with the ‘Wellness village’, and was headlined ‘destruction of value and relationships’, a further 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”.

A response from the Kuwait Innovative Group (KIG) was reported afterwards, and following it Swansea University decided not to continue with the project. Further action may follow. KIG told the university it would take legal steps for a full refund of a “sensitive” document’s £600,000 cost. The group claims the document was leaked and is also considering action for loss of potential investment and damage to reputation.

The law could be brought in

It is alleged that legal rules may have been flouted, and ‘Your friend’ also appears to be unaware of them because as the gmails he or she have sent were published to a third party they fall within the remit of libel laws. If this person can be found legal action could follow.

In its first formal response to the anonymous campaign by Swansea University, the messages were castigated.

Swansea University didn’t like it

An official statement from Swansea’s ‘Associate Director Vice-Chancellor’s Office, Head of Legal and Compliance Services’ stated :  Alongside the University’s internal disciplinary process, there is also on-going police involvement (i) with regard to the issues uncovered during the University’s investigation; and (ii) anonymous communications sent to University staff relating to the suspensions and disciplinary processes. The matters under investigation are very serious. The University has invested a significant amount of resource investigating the alleged misconduct, as have the authorities. It is essential that nothing is done to undermine the on-going processes. They must be allowed to run their course without interference.”

The Morgan Academy, took its name from the late Rhodri Morgan, who as well as being the former First Minister of Wales was also Swansea University Chancellor.

What has been going on inside Swansea University’s School of Management?!

Apart from highlighting the “wicked issues” of public policy, it says it: “… carries out commissioned and ‘blue-sky’ research in the social sciences, arts and humanities but seeks to make its primary impact as a policy centre”.

Yet Swansea University itself has been no stranger to bad headlines either.

We have been alone in exposing how a convicted fraudster was given a job at the university. Swansea’s controversial School of Management employed on a contract, criminal Steve Chan. This came despite the fact that our journalists have shown Chan was jailed for years in America after a massive fraud.

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

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

Chan’s 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.

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

In the publicity before the conference the former Vice-Chancellor of Swansea University, who with other senior executives has also been sacked for “gross misconduct”, Richard Davies, said:  “The event in Brussels on St David’s Day emphasises both the importance of the agenda in the European context and the role played by Professor Steve Chan in this key sector”.

Our questions were ‘vexatious’ apparently…

The promotion adds:  “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 Management… Professor 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”.

University officials have been less keen than ‘Your friend’ though to give The Eye information – this time about Chan’s background, and we have been told in the past our questions about him in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request had been refused on the grounds they were “vexatious”.

No eulogy for Nigel Piercy

The former Dean of the university’s management school, Nigel Piercy, left under a cloud after two turbulent years in charge, and contrary to convention, his death (which we also first revealed) was not marked in traditional fashion by Swansea.

Professor Piercy quit following relentless pressure from The Eye, when he clashed repeatedly with staff, warned them the school was “not a rest home for refugees from the 1960s with their ponytails and tie-dyed T-shirts”, and described trade unionists as “unpleasant and grubby little people…usually distinguished only by their sad haircuts, grubby, chewed fingernails and failed careers”.

The career of the man linked to the Morgan Academy can also be seen to have failed after he was sacked for “gross misconduct” and the police have launched an alleged bribery investigation.

 

Book posterOur Editor Phil Parry’s memories of his extraordinary 36-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! 

 

 

Comments from Mastodon:
Facebook Comments

Leave a Reply

Please Login to comment
  Subscribe  
Notify of