The former CEO of a credit union could face up to five years’ imprisonment after being charged with a criminal offence relating to his involvement in alleged vote rigging.
Following an investigation by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), Peter Kevin Challis, former CEO of WAW Credit Union, has appeared before the Wodonga Magistrates’ Court on a criminal charge relating to his alleged complicity in vote rigging during a board election.
ASIC noted that between 4 November 2015 and 18 November 2015, WAW conducted elections to fill two vacant board positions. The voting took place electronically, with WAW members using their personal details to gain access to an online portal to cast their vote.
The regulator added that following the election, the WAW board identified irregularities in the voting, including that a total of 627 ballots had been cast from the same internet protocol (IP) address. The board resolved to take steps to identify the owner of the IP address and commenced internal and external investigations of the election process.
ASIC has alleged that Mr Challis knew the owner of the IP address from which the ballots were cast and did not inform the WAW board, and that Mr Challis, as WAW CEO, either dishonestly or recklessly failed to exercise his powers and discharge his duties as WAW CEO “in good faith in the best interests of the corporation or for a proper purpose”.
ASIC stated that Mr Challis has been charged with one count of contravening section 184(1) of the Corporations Act 2001 which attracts a maximum penalty of five years’ imprisonment, 2,000 penalty units or both.
The matter has been listed for a committal mention before the Wodonga Magistrates’ Court on 27 November 2018 and will be prosecuted by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.