Thursday, 18 December 2008

Fire Brigades managers corrupt: watchdog

Two NSW Fire Brigades managers engaged in corrupt conduct by pursuing dishonest schemes that enabled them to receive $2.4 million in payments, the Independent Commission Against Corruption has found.

Under the schemes, which ran between 2005 and 2007, companies controlled by Christian Sanhueza received $6.07 million from the NSW Fire Brigades for upgrades, repairs and maintenance of fire stations.

After paying subcontractors, Mr Sanhueza received at least $1.4 million and his associate, Clive Taylor $1.01 million, ICAC found.

As a result of its inquiry, ICAC said it had found "systemic weakness" in the NSW Fire Brigades and made 14 "corruption prevention recommendations" to minimise or prevent similar corrupt conduct and improper work practices from recurring.

Earlier, ICAC referred the receipt of the corrupt proceeds to the NSW Crime Commission, which obtained restraining orders against Mr Sanhueza and Mr Taylor.

Subsequently, the Supreme Court has "made a proceeds assessment order" against Mr Sanhueza for $950,000 and has sought to forfeit assets of Mr Taylor - a farm at Merriwa, two flat-screen television sets and a laptop computer, ICAC said.

The NSW Fire Brigades had no effective method of costing a capital works project, ICAC noted in its report, released earlier today.

"The budget allocation process offered the corrupt project managers their opportunity," ICAC said.

Reports ICAC also made corruption findings against Fire Brigades contractor Rasem Guirguis, who gave both men gifts of televisions and laptop computers for awarding him work.

Another man, Soliman Hanna, was found to have acted corruptly by giving Mr Sanhueza and Mr Taylor $1000 each for awarding him work.

Patricia Xuereb, another Fire Brigades employee, was found to have improperly provided confidential information to Mr Sanhueza.


RailCorp corruption 'extraordinary'

The role of the NSW Minister for Transport, and the RailCorp CEO and board, must be reviewed to "better ensure financially responsible management that would limit the opportunity for corruption", says a damning report released today by the Independent Commission Against Corruption.

Rail rorts: ICAC recommends charges
The Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) has found another four RailCorp employees received large cash payments for awarding work to favoured contractors

Something is rotten in the state of NSW
IN 1998 the lid was lifted on the corrupt world of NSW railways, revealing that supplying prostitutes could win you a contract, fake medical certificates signed by a dead doctor would get you a day off work, and you could claim overtime while playing golf.

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