by George Nott

CSG CEO charged in Ultranet corruption probe

May 21, 2018
CEODigital TransformationEducation Industry

Victoria’s anti-corruption Commission, IBAC, has charged three people in relation to the Ultranet fiasco, a failed online teaching system for Victorian Government schools which cost taxpayers an estimated $240 million.

The Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC) said the charges have been laid against a former managing director and CEO, a former group general manager technology solutions, and a former Department of Education and Training Deputy Secretary.

Each has been charged with five counts of obtaining property by deception. The former education department secretary has also been charged with one count of misconduct in public office.

Ultranet was launched with an extravagant event in 2010, promising to ‘revolutionise learning’ for every Victorian school pupil. Within three years plagued by limited functionality and declining student take-up from an already pitiful base of 10 per cent, the Ultranet project was abandoned.

In January, IBAC said its investigation into the projecthad “exposed a range of improper actions and behaviours by senior departmental staff that effectively corrupted the tender process” in particular, the awarding of a contract to CSG Services, which was at the time owned by CSG Limited – may have been compromised.

“Central to many of the allegations examined”, the report released by IBAC earlier this year says, was former teacher turned senior state politician Darrell Fraser who one person told IBAC “broke every f—ing rule in the book”.

Following IBAC’s announcement today, CSG Limited warned shareholders that its CEO and managing director has had criminal charges filed against her,in relation to a consulting project dubbed the Learning Technologies and Quality Assurance Project (LTQAP).

Julie-Ann Kerin was promoted to the role of chief executive officer and managing director of CSG in 2012, replacing founding shareholder and former managing director Denis Mackenzie.

CSG CEO Julie-Ann Kerin

CSG, in an announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange, said the chargesallege that the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (DEECD) and its officers were deceived in 2011 about the true nature and purpose of the Learning Technologies and Quality Assurance Project, and into believing that Alliance Recruitment would complete all the work on that project.

The company has sought to distance itself from the scandal, adding that no charges have been brought against the company and that the subsidiary (CSG Services) involved in providing services to the DEECD was divested in 2012.

CSG stood by its previous statements that it “denies thatit and its officers have done anything wrong”.

The company said it fully supports its managing director and chief executive officer in the defence of the charges.

The three individuals charged by IBAC have been summoned to appear in the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on July 3.