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Accused manager at work

A MAN accused of defrauding the NSW Fire Brigades of $1.5 million was, until Monday, a project manager on $43 million worth of Federal Government construction projects for Aborigines in Redfern reports Joel Gibson Indigenous affairs reporter in the Sydney Morning Herald of August 20, 2008.

Christian Sanhueza managed planning development for Australia's first national sporting and leadership academy for indigenous youth and the renovation of a historically significant Aboriginal theatre for almost a year, after resigning from his Fire Brigades job in early 2007.

He was employed on September 3 last year by the Indigenous Land Corporation, a statutory authority designed to buy and develop land for indigenous people. It launched an immediate internal review yesterday of Mr Sanhueza's involvement in its projects.

In his previous job, Mr Sanhueza and a colleague are alleged to have paid themselves $2.5 million out of a $6 million budget for upgrading fire stations in Berowra, Bourke, Finley, Greenacre and Scone.

It is alleged Mr Sanhueza set himself up as a builder, awarded tenders to his own companies, cut corners on the jobs and used the money left over to pay off his investment properties.

The allegations, mentioned at the Independent Commission Against Corruption on Monday, have raised concerns about the Redfern projects - the $35 million National Indigenous Development Centre and the $8 million Black Theatre.

The general manager of the corporation, David Galvin, last night said reputable external project management companies had overseen Mr Sanhueza's projects. "All variations subsequent to Mr Sanhueza's employment had to be approved by an external project manager and not by

Mr Sanhueza. Consequently, the ILC has no concerns relating to this project," Mr Galvin said.