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Former Vic Dept Boss Charged Over Failed Ultranet Project

A former deputy secretary at the Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development has been charged over his role in the failed software project Ultranet, which reportedly has cost taxpayers up to $240 million.

Darrell Fraser has been charged by the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC) with five counts of obtaining property by deception and one of misconduct in public office.

Also charged with obtaining property by deception are Denis MacKenzie, former MD of CSG, the publically listed company awarded the Ultranet contract, and Julie-Ann Kerin, the company’s current CEO.

Ultranet was aimed at creating a software system and online platform that connected Victorian teachers, parents and students. It was abandoned in 2014 after a critical audit

An inquiry by IBAC found the Education Department’s project to create the Ultranet software system had cost the State up to $240 million. It alleged that department officials had bought shares in CSG, influenced the tender process and accepted inappropriate gifts from suppliers, including flights and expensive meals.

Other allegations involved inappropriate receipt of hospitality and travel; improper communications intended to influence the tender process; and a likely attempt to influence the tender outcome by stacking an evaluation.

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