Swansea pulls out of £600 million joint venture in Kuwait

Project reported to be linked to suspended dean of School of Management

March 27, 2019
Swansea University sign

Swansea University has pulled out of a £600 million joint venture in Kuwait, as the fallout from the university’s suspension of its vice-chancellor and a dean continues.

The scheme to create a private university and medical school in Kuwait was linked to the suspended dean of the School of Management, Marc Clement, Wales Online reported.

Swansea suspended its vice-chancellor, Richard Davies, in November. The suspensions appear to have been linked to concerns over plans to build a £200 million Wellness Village at Llanelli, part of the £1.3 billion Swansea Bay City Deal.

The same company that at one stage was the development partner in the Wellness Village was involved in the Kuwaiti project, Wales Online said.

A Swansea spokeswoman said: “The trustees of Swansea University council have decided that the university cannot continue with a project to build a medical school and university in Kuwait, known as Project Shifaa.

“Project Shifaa has never previously been presented to the university council for approval by the trustees. The trustees have concluded that it is impossible or impracticable for the project to be fulfilled.

“The reasons for this include the previous involvement of Kent Neurosciences, and its successor company, Sterling Health, and the logistical difficulties in delivering the project.”

In February, Swansea said that it had made a “formal criminal complaint” after investigating issues related to the Llanelli development project.

In a 10-page grievance letter to that emerged in January, Professor Davies said that the Wellness Village project took up 75 per cent of the “column centimetres” in the suspension letter that he received, with the rest detailing allegations that he “failed to assure appropriate due diligence, governance and systems of control around major projects and commercial activities of the university”.

He accused the university registrar of trying to “seize the position of vice-chancellor” and said that the university council has been “negligent in permitting this manifestly unfair concentration of power in the hands of one person”.

Earlier this month, Swansea announced that Paul Boyle would leave his role as University of Leicester vice-chancellor to take over at Swansea “following the planned retirement of Professor Richard Davies at the end of the current academic year”.

john.morgan@timeshighereducation.com

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