Ex Victorian public servant Darrell Fraser convicted of fraud

By Shannon Jenkins

Friday July 24, 2020

Adobe

A former deputy secretary of the Victorian Department of Education and Training has been sentenced to a two-year community correction order and 300 hours of community service.

Darrell Fraser was convicted and sentenced at Melbourne’s County Court on Friday after pleading guilty to obtaining a financial advantage by deception and misconduct in public office.

He was first charged in 2018 following a lengthy investigation by the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission. The charges related to the awarding of a $999,996 contract for the review of a number of department IT projects, including the failed Ultranet project.


Read more: Ultranet: former VIC deputy secretary Darrell Fraser charged


Ultranet was supposed to be an online teaching and learning platform for teachers, students, and parents, but it crashed on its 2010 launch day.

Expected to cost $64.6 million, the project ended up costing between $127 million to $240 million in public money. A damning audit report led to the scrapping of Ultranet in 2014.

Last month Fraser pleaded guilty to misconduct as a public official and obtaining financial advantage by deception, roughly a decade after he funnelled $999,996 from the education department to IT company CSG Services.

The money was fed through five payments to contractor Alliance Recruitment, which pocketed $59,000 before transferring the remaining $939,999 to CSG.

At the June hearing, Tom Gyorffy QC said the motive behind Fraser’s actions “was to try and save the Ultranet program”. He had not personally profited from the crime.

County Court Judge Martine Marich on Friday concluded that Fraser was remorseful.

Fraser’s co-accused — CSG’s former managing director Denis MacKenzie and former CEO Julie-Ann Kerin — are awaiting trial.

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