As NSW Icac renews its investigation into Daryl Maguire, what has the watchdog uncovered so far?

At least two departments have been asked to hand over documents to the New South Wales Independent Commission Against Corruption as it renews its probe into the disgraced former MP for Wagga Wagga, Daryl Maguire, and NSW government grants made to projects in his seat.

© Provided by The Guardian Photograph: AAP

The latest focus of the corruption watchdog is believed to be the 2017 grant of $5.5m for the Australian Clay Target Association’s clubhouse and convention centre in Wagga Wagga, which Maguire championed. Details of the grant were first revealed by the ABC in December. A Department of Premier and Cabinet official last month declined to answer questions about the grant in the NSW upper house on the basis that it was presently being examined by Icac.

© Photograph: AAP Disgraced former NSW MP Daryl Maguire arriving at the Independent Commission Against Corruption hearing in October 2020.

The project is potentially a problem for Maguire because Icac has previously heard evidence that he stood to receive a small commission through a company, G8way International, from the development. The commission was allegedly payable for the supply of plastic seats for the convention centre. The club and its officials are not under investigation and there has been no suggestion they were aware of any wrongdoing.

Known as Operation Keppel, Icac is investigating whether Maguire sought to profit from his role as an MP.

Related: ‘Glad and her boo’: Gladys Berejiklian dating prominent barrister who represented her at Icac

What have previous Icac hearings revealed?

Under questioning, Maguire has admitted he received thousands of dollars in payments from an illegitimate “cash for visas” scheme and that he was effectively in control of a company called G8Way International, which he accepted sought to sell “influence and experience that would reach to the highest levels of government”.

The nation was shocked when the NSW premier, Gladys Berejiklian, made a surprise appearance as a witness at the hearing in 2020 and revealed she was in “a close personal relationship” with Maguire. Her relationship with Maguire ended a few months before Icac began its public hearings.

Icac played telephone intercepts of Maguire discussing with the premier his financial difficulties. On at least one occasion, she replied: “I don’t need to know that.”

At the time, Berejiklian strenuously denied any knowledge of Maguire’s improper business activities and appeared only as a witness.

Icac had been expected to hand down its report earlier this year, but in March it announced: “the Commission’s Operation Keppel investigation is ongoing”.

Now the question is: will the premier be required to make another appearance before Icac and in what capacity?

The $5.5m grant to the Australian Clay Target Association will be a complex event to unravel because several departments and ministers were involved in processing and evaluating it.

The Australian has reported that the deputy premier, John Barilaro, who was also minister for regional NSW, and the former sports minister Stuart Ayres have been called to Icac to give evidence at private hearings. There is no suggestion they were involved in any wrongdoing.

At a press conference on Wednesday, Berejiklian said she was not a person of interest in Icac’s Operation Keppel.

What does the premier have to do with it?

At the time the Australian Clay Target Association grant was first discussed by the NSW government, Berejiklian was NSW treasurer and in a secret “close personal” relationship with Maguire.

According to documents produced in NSW parliament under a call for papers by Greens MP David Shoebridge in the NSW upper house, Maguire first wrote to Berejiklian on behalf of then CEO of the Australian Clay Target Association, Tony Turner, on 27 January 2016 seeking funding from the NSW government.

Berejiklian’s response on 18 February 2016, referred him to then-sports minister Stuart Ayres: “The Minister will respond to you on behalf of the NSW Government. Thank you for bringing Mr Turner’s request to the Government’s attention.”

According to the documents, Ayres initially declined to support the then $4.5m request for the project because it fell outside the scope of current sport and recreation funding programs, and was in excess of the maximum grant.

However, the NSW Office of Sport subsequently supported a larger funding submission for the Australian Clay Target Association, which was put forward to the Expenditure Review Committee (ERC) of cabinet in December 2016. It was ultimately funded by RestartNSW – a fund controlled by Treasury.

As treasurer, Berejiklian would normally chair ERC meetings. If she chaired any meetings that considered the grant, there is an argument that she should have declared a conflict of interest, because of her secret relationship with Maguire.

Berejiklian has previously downplayed her involvement in awarding the grant, telling an estimates hearing in NSW parliament: “If you are suggesting that the Treasurer of the day personally signs off on every single funding allocation that is made, that is incorrect.”

By 23 January 2017 Berejiklian had become premier.

Documents – including a detailed timeline produced by Treasury – reveal the convention centre project was initially not supported by Treasury because it did not have a positive business case.

However, the funding was set aside by ERC in December 2016 and provided a pathway to approval provided conditions were met. Infrastructure NSW then appears to have taken over reviewing the project and once it was assessed again after changes, the project was green-lighted in August 2018.

The changes included making the Australian Clay Target Association’s convention centre bigger, which then improved its business case as a useful piece of infrastructure for Wagga.

Related: Gladys Berejiklian denies making decisions to benefit secret boyfriend Daryl Maguire

Aside from the questions about the Berejiklian’s role in the December 2016 ERC meeting which reserved the funding, documents have emerged through calls for papers and committee hearings which point to the premier taking an interest in the project’s progress during 2017.

The executive director of Regional NSW, Chris Hanger, wrote to the Infrastructure NSW CEO, Jim Betts, on 1 June 2017 requesting the clay target grant and three other unrelated grants be considered for approval.

“The Department’s Investment Appraisal Unit has assessed the updated business case provided by ACTA for the development of a large clubhouse/conference facility and associated infrastructure at their existing site in Wagga Wagga after a request by the Premier,” he wrote.

Another email, sent on 20 June 2017 from the deputy secretary of the department of Regional NSW, Gary Barnes, to a senior staffer in the premier’s office informed the office that funding for the Wagga project would soon be approved.

“Just wanted you in the loop given Premier’s interest,” Barnes wrote.

Berejiklian denied any impropriety in the handling of the grants.

Asked whether her apparent involvement in the process amounted to a conflict of interest, given her relationship with Maguire, Berejiklian told reporters on 9 August: “The proposition you are putting is absolutely ridiculous and all proper processes were followed.”

Berejiklian has previously downplayed her involvement in awarding the grant, telling an estimates hearing in NSW parliament: “If you are suggesting that the treasurer of the day personally signs off on every single funding allocation that is made, that is incorrect.”

Icac has a strict policy of not commenting on investigations or even their existence prior to a public hearing or a report being issued. Witnesses to private hearings are summoned on the basis that they cannot talk about the investigation or their evidence. Unsurprisingly Ayres and Barilaro have refused to comment. It also makes it difficult for the premier to provide any meaningful response.

Icac refused to comment on the matter for this story.

Internet Explorer Channel Network
News Related

OTHER NEWS

‘Where's the logic?': how England's ‘no jab, no job' policy will hit a care worker

© Provided by The Guardian Photograph: Christopher Thomond/The Guardian Carol Thomas, a retired health academic who lives with multiple sclerosis, is about to lose not just a carer but a ... Read more »

Timpson to pay for HRT prescriptions for staff going through menopause

© PA Timpson has offered to pay for HRT medication for staff going through menopause High street chain Timpson has announced it will pay for hormone replacement therapy (HRT) prescriptions ... Read more »

India has second largest number of unicorns; Sequoia top investor, says PwC India report

© Provided by Business Today India has second largest number of unicorns; Sequoia top investor, says PwC India report India has the second largest number of unicorns and is only ... Read more »

Sir David Amess killing: Suspect's online activity may be the most relevant factor in fatal stabbing

© PA Wire There are other mysteries too, including whether Sir David Amess was targeted specifically because of his links to Qatar – PA Wire Top of the list of ... Read more »

Over 27,000 Cattle Died On Railway Tracks Between April 2020 and March 2021

© Provided by News18 Over 27,000 Cattle Died On Railway Tracks Between April 2020 and March 2021 From March 2020 to April 2021, despite trains not running at their full ... Read more »

Get a grip, Priti Patel – laughing gas isn't a major threat to individuals or society

© Matt Cardy/Getty Images The ACMD recommended against making nitrous oxide possession illegal in 2015 – Matt Cardy/Getty Images As home secretary, Priti Patel says that she intends to take ... Read more »

Wales launches drive to stop young people leaving as ‘brain drain' threatens public services

© Getty Images/iStockphoto iStock-1194380184.jpg Extra support for business startups is among a range of measures being considered by Welsh ministers aiming to keep more young people in their homeland as ... Read more »

Shah to chair internal security meet with state DGPs, IGPs, CAPF chiefs

© Provided by The Statesman Shah to chair internal security meet with state DGPs, IGPs, CAPF chiefs Union Home Minister Amit Shah will chair a closed-door meeting on Monday to ... Read more »

Bank warning: Contactless card limit rises to £100 - how to avoid being scammed

This most recent change came into effect on October 15, 2021 and is the fifth time the card payment threshold has been raised since 2017. The last limit was £45 ... Read more »

5 best practices to prevent insider trading in India

© Provided by CNBCTV18 Harry S. Truman once said, “It is selfishness and greed, individual or national, that causes most of our troubles.” Ultimately, insatiable greed that has permeated the ... Read more »

Merck: Up to licensed partners to apply for molnupiravir EUA in Philippines

An experimental COVID-19 treatment pill, called molnupiravir and being developed by Merck & Co Inc and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics LP, is seen in this undated handout photo released by Merck & ... Read more »

Eleazar orders NCR cops to determine if additional personnel needed in public areas

© PNP PNP chief Police General Guillermo Eleazar Philippine National Police chief Police General Guillermo Lorenzo Eleazar has tasked the unit commanders in the National Capital Region to determine if ... Read more »

617 NCR families affected by granular lockdowns –DILG

© Danny Pata Residents wait for their orders of food and other items at the corner of H. Santos Street in Barangay Tejeros, Makati City on Saturday, September 18, 2021. ... Read more »

Budget 2021 predictions: What to expect in Rishi Sunak's autumn budget from minimum wage rise to tax changes

Rishi Sunak will deliver his Budget and Spending Review to the Commons next week, setting out the government’s spending and financial strategy. He is expected to unveil a number of ... Read more »

Moon commits S. Korea to 40pc cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030

© Provided by The Statesman Moon commits S. Korea to 40pc cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 South Korea has decided to increase its target reduction level of greenhouse ... Read more »

'Forty hot flushes a day made life hell': Woman urges others to seek help for menopause symptoms after her own horrific experience

Monday 18 October 2021 marks World Menopause Day – the ideal time for women like Lorraine (pictured) to share their struggles and encourage others to seek help. (Supplied) When she ... Read more »

Thieves break into four East Hartford stores overnight in failed ATM cash grab

A group of thieves broke into four East Hartford stores overnight in a failed attempt to steal ATM cash, police said Monday. The four thieves weren’t able to get any ... Read more »

Murder of Sir David Amess an ‘attack on democracy' – Lord Dodds

A veteran DUP politician who survived two attempts on his life during his political career has described the murder of MP Sir David Amess as an attack on democracy. Lord ... Read more »

Diver finds 900-year-old sword off Israeli coast

© Provided by The National The metre-long sword from the Crusader period was found by a scuba diver on the seabed off the Carmel Coast. Photo: Shlomi Katzin/Israel Antiquities Authority ... Read more »

3 Signs your partner is your best friend too

Disappointing appraisal, that long-due promotion further deferred, and a hard-to-please boss, definitely calls for a venting session with your best friend. But is it your partner, and not your girl ... Read more »

Closing Bell: Sensex jumps 450 points; Nifty near 18,500; HDFC Bank, Tata Steel surge

© Provided by CNBCTV18 The Indian equity benchmark indices closed at record highs for the sixth straight session led by buying across the sectors. The breadth of the market is neutral ... Read more »

Good news for Delhiites! Now, you can travel in metro without smartcards - Here's how

© Provided by DNA The metro rail is hands down one of the most used public transports and easy to access as well. As the national capital is seeing a ... Read more »

Stock Market Highlights: Sensex ends 460 points higher, Nifty50 at 18,477 as market extends gains to fresh peaks

15:58:35 IST Market At Close | Hindalco, Infosys, Tech Mahindra top gainers; HCL Tech, M&M, Asian Paints top laggards 15:42:10 IST Closing Bell | Sensex ends 460 points hgiher at ... Read more »

India's cumulative COVID-19 vaccination coverage exceeds 97.79 crore, recovery rate highest since March 2020

© Provided by The Statesman India’s cumulative COVID-19 vaccination coverage exceeds 97.79 crore, recovery rate highest since March 2020 With the administration of 12,05,162 vaccine doses in the last 24 ... Read more »

Gesellschaft: Nur 2,9 Prozent der Schweizer fühlen sich vollkommen ausgeschlossen

Nur drei von 100 Einwohnern der Schweiz fühlen sich überhaupt nicht in die Gesellschaft integriert. Aber jeder Fünfte hat das Gefühl, ein bisschen ausgeschlossen zu sein. Besonders betroffen sind Ausländer, ... Read more »

Bidens seen violating DC's indoor mask mandate

President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden were seen flouting a Washington DC restaurant’s mask policy on October 16, 2021. BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images President Joe Biden and ... Read more »

Farmers ‘Rail Roko' Protest Highlights: Protesters block railway tracks in Punjab and Haryana, 50 trains affected

© Provided by The Financial Express Rail Roko Agitation Live Updates: The SKM said during the ‘rail roko’ protest, all train traffic will be stopped for six hours from 10 ... Read more »

Something wrong in Jammu-Kashmir, outsiders deliberately attacked: Bihar CM Nitish Kumar

In the wake of migrant workers being slayed by terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar dialled the Union Territory’s LG Manoj Sinha and expressed concern over ... Read more »

Beware of this online scam! Here is how to save your money

Did you ever get unsolicited calls, SMS, WhatsApp messages and more from people who claimed they could fix your devices for a nominal charge? Most people have received such offers. ... Read more »

Deepavali is not Jashn-e-Riwaaz: Tejasvi Surya slams Fabindia ad

BJP Yuva Morcha president Tejasvi Surya has objected to an ad campaign by apparel brand Fabindia calling Diwali “Jashn-e-Riwaaz”. Tejasvi Surya also said that Fabindia “must face economic costs for ... Read more »

Waterlogging witnessed in capital after rainfall

© Provided by The Statesman Waterlogging witnessed in capital after rainfall After witnessing heavy rainfall in the capital in last twenty-four hours, Delhi is witnessing waterlogging at many places across ... Read more »

Simple and effective tips to get rid of split ends

© Provided by The Indian Express The increased use of hair products and appliances in addition to pollution and dust, can make the hair appear dull and lifeless. Another common ... Read more »

E-commerce: A tale featuring Amazon, Elizabeth Warren, Indian retail, and GOI

New Delhi: United States (US) Senator and a leading voice of the Democratic Party on the hill in Washington, Elizabeth Warren, on Thursday, said what representatives of 80 million small ... Read more »

West Bengal Lottery Result 2021: Dear Bangalakshmi Teesta Lottery for October 18; 1st Prize Winner to Get Rs 50 Lakh

© Provided by News18 West Bengal Lottery Result 2021: Dear Bangalakshmi Teesta Lottery for October 18; 1st Prize Winner to Get Rs 50 Lakh For ticket holders of West Bengal ... Read more »

Budget 2021: Rishi Sunak's plans to ease cost of living crisis are set to be derailed by rising interest rates

UK interest rates are set to start climbing again in the near future, the head of the Bank of England has signalled in a move that will dismay Rishi Sunak. ... Read more »

Home Affairs Dept temporarily extends operating hours to deal with congestion

© Sethembiso Zulu/EWN Department of Home Affairs. JOHANNESBURG – The Home Affairs Department has temporarily extended its operating times by two-and-a-half hours from Monday in order to meet the growing ... Read more »

Best Black Friday microwave deals to expect for 2021

IF you need to upgrade your microwave, the Black Friday sale is an ideal time to pick up a new one . The handy kitchen essential is useful for everything ... Read more »

Nur Sajat arrives in Australia, seeking asylum

© Provided by Free Malaysia Today Nut Sajat, who is now in Australia, says she is free and wants to be left alone. (Bernama pic) PETALING JAYA: Cosmetics entrepreneur Nur ... Read more »

The New Lost Cause

© Getty ; The Atlantic One of my favorite things about covering political rallies is that they typically start with a recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance. For anyone above ... Read more »

Only the vaccinated can vote in Melaka polls, with set time slots

© Provided by Free Malaysia Today The Melaka state assembly was dissolved on Oct 4 after four assemblymen withdrew their support for chief minister Sulaiman Md Ali. (Bernama pic) MELAKA: ... Read more »