The Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC) has brought criminal charges against CSG chief executive and managing director Julie-Ann Kerin – prompting the IT provider to deny that "it and its officers have done anything wrong".
The charges, filed in the Victorian Magistrate’s Court, relate to the Learning Technologies and Quality Assurance Project (LTQAP), which CSG carried out for the Department of Early Childhood Development (DEECD) in 2011.
The anti-corruption watchdog alleged the DEECD was deceived into believing LTQAP would be completed by a company called Alliance Recruitment, which IBAC has also alleged was used to corruptly inject funds into CSG in order to keep its ill-fated Ultranet project afloat.
IBAC on Monday revealed it had in fact charged three people in relation to the Ultranet project.
"A former managing director and CEO, a former group general manager of technology solutions, and a former Department of Education and Training deputy secretary - have each been charged with five counts of obtaining property by deception," the watchdog wrote in a statement.
"The former Department of Education and Training deputy secretary has also been charged with one count of misconduct in public office."
The charges follow IBAC's Operation Dunham, which investigated the conduct of officers of the Department of Education surrounding how schools pursue and respond to commercial opportunities.
IBAC’s probe led to the grilling of former Victorian Education deputy secretary Darrell Fraser, who in 2016 admitted to intentionally hiding a $1 million payment to CSG over its provision of the Ultranet project.
IBAC wrote in its Operation Dunham report that: "After experiencing difficulties with the Ultranet project, Mr Fraser set up the Learning Technologies Quality Assurance Project, which he described as 'the little project'. In fact, Operation Dunham found evidence to suggest the 'little project' was a $1 million sham.
"Payments were made to Alliance Recruitment from departmental funds to corruptly inject funds into CSG to ensure it had sufficient cash flow to properly deliver the Ultranet project. The process used to appoint Alliance Recruitment was in clear breach of departmental protocols and was intended to mask CSG's involvement."
In its Monday statement, IBAC said that Ultranet: "was intended to be an online teaching and learning system for Victorian Government schools. It was cancelled in 2014, with estimates of its eventual cost ranging from $127 million to $240 million."
CSG today noted that no charges had been brought against the company itself, and that the subsidiary involved in providing the services on the LTQAP was divested in 2012 in a deal with NEC.
CSG said its stance remained the same as it did when it addressed the report in January 2017: “After reviewing the IBAC report, CSG denies that it and its officers have done anything wrong. CSG has responded to the adverse statements against it [and its former subsidiary] through the appropriate channels.
“CSG fully supports the managing director and chief executive officer in the defence of the charges,” CSG said in its statement Monday morning.