Fraud probe on ANU students' missing $125,000
The Australian National University Student Association admits more than $125,000 of its members' money is missing due to alleged fraud.
The association made the admission on Thursday through the student news publication Woroni, after The Canberra Times told university authorities it planned to publish the full scale of the missing funds.
The newspaper revealed in June that a former office-holder in three student organisations was under investigation for allegedly stealing tens of thousands of dollars during a 2½-year period.
The amount allegedly stolen is equal to more than 10 per cent of ANUSA's 2012 budget.
ACT Policing has been investigating for several months the alleged theft of funds by an ANU student, a former undergraduate aged in his early 20s.
No charges have been laid but the former office-holder, who comes from a wealthy Sydney family, has held discussions through his lawyers about repaying some of the missing funds.
The extent of the alleged crime was revealed by an external forensic audit by accounting firm KPMG, but it is unclear when ANUSA was given the results of the examination.
The firm's report showed evidence that $126,000, more than double the amount previously reported, was taken from student funds over a 2½-year period.
Details of the alleged theft were released after The Canberra Times made approaches to the ANU and the ANUSA on Thursday indicating knowledge of the scale of the alleged crime.
Most of the missing money was taken from the ANUSA, which lost an estimated $74,000.
ANU Student Media reportedly lost $34,000 and the association's Interhall Sports Organisation allegedly had nearly $18,000 stolen.
ANUSA did not return calls on Thursday, but the university's deputy vice-chancellor, Marnie Hughes-Warrington, told The Canberra Times the student association had agreed, in the wake of the revelations, to several changes to the accountability regime around student funds.
Professor Hughes-Warrington said the student association agreed to accept anti-fraud and conflict-of-interest training for all of its office-holders, as well as other improved accountability measures.
The student at the centre of the investigation into the alleged theft reportedly took the funds while in a position of trust.
He is accused of using direct bank transfers, credit cards, and direct deposits to businesses to misappropriate the funds.
The money was allegedly transferred into a bank account controlled by the student and withdrawn.
The student is alleged to have taken the funds for a period of 2½ years, from February 2010 until May this year.
The ANUSA says it is insured against such thefts.