A former deputy secretary at the Victorian Education Department has pleaded guilty to misconduct as a public official and obtaining financial advantage by deception through his alleged role in the collapse of Victoria’s Ultranet program.
As reported by AAP, Darrell Fraser funnelled $996,996 into CSG Services, one of the companies behind the program, through contractor Alliance Recruitment in an attempt to salvage the project.
Ultranet was touted as an online learning education platform capable of connecting students, parents and teachers. The project failed at its intended launch in 2010 with costs rocketing from $60 million up to $240 million.
Prosecutors acknowledged Fraser was trying to save the program, and that the former deputy secretary admitted to police that his attempt to do so was illegal.
Country Court judge Martine Marich said that Fraser would be put on a community correction order, as opposed to jail time.
Fraser’s sentencing is scheduled for 24 July.
He was previously alleged to have been a central figure surrounding the Ultranet program, according to a 2017 report by Victoria’s Independent Broad-based Anti-Corruption Commission (IBAC) following its Operation Dunham investigation in 2014.
The report alleged Fraser was a former principal at Glen Waverly Secondary College and played a critical role in the College’s intranet, which served as the basis for the Ultranet program.
Then later, as deputy secretary of the Department, he allegedly held a central role in the tender process involving Oracle and CSG. In 2011, he resigned from this position and took up a role with CSG.
IBAC's 2014 report put forward a myriad of allegations that the state government’s procurement of services from Oracle and CSG Services for the project was subjected to process corruption, improper diversion of funds, conflict of interest, and mismanagement at senior levels.