Swansea rejects two appeals against sackings but v-c case ongoing

Fallout over claims related to a £200 million development project continues

February 4, 2020

Swansea University has dismissed appeals by two former members of staff against their dismissals for gross misconduct, while an appeal lodged by its sacked former vice-chancellor remains ongoing, as the fallout over claims related to a £200 million development project continues.

The allegations against Marc Clement, former dean of the School of Management; Steve Poole, former head of innovation, commercial and business; and Richard Davies, the former vice-chancellor, 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.

Swansea said in February 2019 that it had made a “formal criminal complaint” to the police.

The university said in a statement issued on 4 February that in September 2018 it had investigated a payment made to former registrar Raymond Ciborowski on “the termination of his employment”, after which investigation he resigned from his position as a part-time adviser at the university.

Following this, “further evidence was discovered that indicated…other employees of the university had significant undeclared interests and stood to make financial gains in a personal capacity from the university’s participation in commercial projects with which they were involved as university employees…The evidence suggested that there were material and serious interests that should have been declared under the university’s policies and procedures,” the Swansea statement continued.

The university said its appeal panel had now dismissed Professor Clement’s and Mr Poole’s appeals against their sackings for gross misconduct.

Professor Davies “was also suspended in connection with the above, and other, matters and he was summarily dismissed for gross misconduct and gross negligence in July 2019”, Swansea’s statement said.

“He appealed against his dismissal and the appeal is ongoing, with the appeal panel awaiting further submissions from Richard Davies, in response to questions from the appeal panel, in order to conclude the process.”

A spokeswoman for South Wales Police said officers were “continuing to investigate alleged offences following a complaint by Swansea University in respect of the Llanelli Wellbeing and Life Sciences Village”.

“Eight people have been interviewed as suspects, all of whom remain under investigation. Further enquiries as part of this complex investigation are ongoing,” the spokeswoman said. “Extensive examination of a significant number of seized documents and electronic equipment also continues.”

john.morgan@timeshighereducation.com

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