Former education department head charged by corruption watchdog over failed state school tool

Darrell Fraser, the former deputy secretary of the education department, has been charged by IBAC.

Darrell Fraser, the former deputy secretary of the education department, has been charged by IBAC. Photo: AAP

A former education department deputy secretary is among three people charged by the corruption watchdog over a scrapped learning tool for Victoria’s state schools.

Darrell Fraser has been charged with five counts of obtaining property by deception and one count of misconduct in public office, as part of the IBAC investigation into the failed Ultranet online portal, which wasted up to $240 million of taxpayer dollars.

Denis Mackenzie and Julie-Ann Kerin – the former and current managing director and chief executive of CSG, which was awarded the Ultranet project – were the other two charged.

In a statement to the ASX on Monday, CSG maintained it was not guilty of any wrongdoing.

It maintained its statement following the release of IBAC’s Operation Dunham report in January last year, which said: “CSG denies that it and its officers have done anything wrong.”

CSG said no new information had been supplied to the company since then, and that it would support the managing director and CEO in defending the charge.

It said the charges alleged that the education department and its officers “were deceived in 2011 about the true nature and purpose of the [project], and into believing that Alliance Recruitment would complete all the work on that project”.

Ultranet was intended to be an online teaching and learning system for government schools in the state.

It was introduced by the former Labor government in 2010 and scrapped in 2014.

IBAC estimated the total cost of the portal was between $170 million and $240 million when it announced the charges on Monday.

The IBAC report from January 2017 has been taken offline while the matter is before the courts.

The three charged will face Melbourne Magistrates Court on July 3.

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