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Swansea University suspends four as ‘internal investigation’ continues

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Prof Richard B Davies

SWANSEA UNIVERSITY’S Vice-Chancellor, Prof Richard B Davies, has been suspended along with three other members of staff.

Prof Marc Clement, the Dean of the School of Management, and two other members of staff, who have not been named, are also suspended.

The university said that an internal investigation was ongoing – but did not comment on the nature of the investigation.

Prof Davies and Prof Clement were suspended on full pay, the university confirmed.

Prof Marc Clement, the Dean of the School of Management

Registrar Andrew Rhodes has taken over as Vice-Chancellor on an interim basis.

He has since sent staff a message titled ‘internal investigation’.

In the message he said: “This message is to let you know that an internal investigation has been carried out at Swansea University over the last few weeks, which has not yet been completed.

“The vice-chancellor has been suspended while the investigation is ongoing, as have the dean of the school of management and two other members of staff at the school.

“Given that this is an ongoing process, it would not be appropriate for me to give any more detail at this stage, but I can assure you that the matters under investigation do not concern the academic performance of the University or its financial wellbeing.

“As set out in the university ordinances, I will carry out the functions of the vice-chancellor in the short term, until other measures are put in place. I will update you about these measures, and about interim arrangements for the school of management, as soon as I can.

“I appreciate that a lot of questions will arise from this message, but it will not be possible to provide more detail at this time. I would like to reassure you that the senior management team, heads of college, professional services directors of the university and myself are all working closely together to make sure the university continues to thrive and to conclude this very difficult matter.”

A Swansea University spokesperson said: “We can confirm that the vice-chancellor and Professor Marc Clement have been suspended on full pay, pending the outcome of on an internal investigation.

“We are not making any further comment at this stage.”

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Llanelli ‘Banksy’: Mayor covers graffiti rat in protective plastic

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LLANELLI Mayor David Darkin believes graffiti found on charity shop wall could potentially be a Banksy.

The piece has been covered with protective plastic by the council while they determine the authenticity of the piece.

David Darkin, Mayor of Llanelli told this newspaper: “I was approached by a local artist Roz Moreton, who believes the artwork is a Banksy in an attempt to preserve the piece.

Roz who studied art in Bristol and lived in London has said she has been exposed to numerous Banksy works including his rats on Westminster Bridge, and spotted the ‘rat’ straight away.

Darkin added “She first spotted the graffiti around ten years ago, but she kept her findings to herself so that she could go back and visit the work.

“It was only after the recent news of the incident in Swansea, where part of a suspected piece of Banksy artwork was stolen, that she decided to approach me to ask for help to protect the piece”.

The art dealer who bought Banksy’s ‘Season’s Greetings’ which appeared on a garage in Port Talbot in December, has met with the mayor in Neath to view images of the artwork.

John Bradner, Essex based gallery owner, paid six figures for the Port Talbot addition, is planning on visiting the site to see the piece for himself.

Mr Darkin added “After showing John Bradner the images he is fairly confident that the piece is Banksy’s work, the fact it was spotted ten years ago ties in with ‘Banksy’s rats’ which was his theme at the time when they appeared across industrial towns.

“Mr Bradner called me yesterday and asked if there was anything else I can do to preserve the piece until he comes to view it in a few weeks to check its authenticity.”

Speaking on the piece Councillor John Jenkins said “Fingers crossed it is a Banksy, but worst-case scenario it isn’t and is still a talking point and people still come and see him.”

Speaking to Mr Darkin he said no attempts have been made yet to contact Banksy to confirm the piece as far as he is aware.

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36 charges relating to chemicals and components for making bombs

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A 33-YEAR-OLD male  is facing 36 charges relating to chemicals and components which can be used to make bombs.

He was remanded in custody at Llanelli Magistrates’ Court on Friday (Feb 15)

The man, from Port Talbot, was arrested in October 2017 in an operation between counter terrorism officers, South Wales Fire and Rescue and The Welsh Ambulance Service.

Detective Superintendent James Hall said no known links to terrorist offences or groups were found. The man will appear in court again at a date to be fixed.

He has also been charged with possessing a taser and manufacturing and possessing class A drugs.

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University makes formal criminal complaint

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A FORMAL criminal complaint has been by made by Swansea University, as part of the ongoing investigation into the issues surrounding the recent suspension of four members of staff.

South Wales Police said: “Dyfed-Powys Police and South Wales Police can confirm that they have received a complaint which is currently subject of consideration by both forces.”

Last November, the university’s Vice-Chancellor Prof Richard B Davies, Dean of the School of Management Prof Marc Clement, as well as two other members of staff, who have not been named, were suspended.

Prof Davies has been suspended for alleged gross negligence whilst Prof Clement was suspended for alleged gross misconduct. Both individuals have denied any wrongdoing. Registrar Andrew Rhodes confirmed at the time that this action was taken after an internal investigation.

In a statement, the university said: “Swansea University has been in regular dialogue with the authorities since November 2018 based on the findings of our initial investigation. A formal criminal complaint has been made and the matter is with South Wales Police and Dyfed Powys Police. We will of course continue to co-operate fully with them. Our processes, which are being carried out by an independent investigating manager, are ongoing.”

The investigation has looked into the academics’ involvement in both the £200m Life Science and Wellbeing Village project in Llanelli, and a £600m plan for a private medical university and hospital in Kuwait.

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