The Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) has stretched their investigation into former premier Gladys Berejiklian and former MP Daryl Maguire into a third week. A series of tapped phone calls between the two played during last week’s hearings shed light on how a series of grants were pushed through despite bureaucratic dissent.
In a 2018 phone call, Maguire told Berejiklian he was struggling to get funding for his various projects. He was particularly concerned by the lack of funds allocated to his electorate in the year’s state budget.
Berejiklian told him she would “fix it,” saying she would call on the state’s former treasurer Dominic Perrottet to set money aside for the projects in the state’s budget.
“I just spoke to Dom and I said just put 140 (million dollars) in the budget. And he said no worries, just does what I ask him to,” Berejiklian said.
Berejiklian was also heard telling her then-boyfriend that she would “throw money at [his] Wagga Wagga electorate”. Much of the hearings have pertained to allegations that Berejiklian and Maguire breached the public trust in obtaining grants for projects that may have personally or financially benefited Maguire.
Maguire complained to Berejiklian that, following being subpoenaed to appear at ICAC hearings, he could not “have a conversation” without being labelled as corrupt.
“Nobody can have a conversation, nobody can make representations. What’s happening is that MPs and others are being muted by the fact that you have all this overseeing…in a way that paints you as fucking corrupt if you have a conversation.”
Berejiklian gave her first day of evidence at the end of last week. Throughout Berejiklian’s time giving evidence, she was questioned regarding the nature of her five-year romantic relationship with Maguire. Berejiklian asserts that she felt no need to disclose the relationship.
This claim was challenged based on texts obtained by ICAC wherein Berejiklian referred to Maguire as “family”. When pressed, she admitted that she considered Maguire family from an emotional standpoint but insisted it was a “turn of phrase” and not legally accurate in that their relationship did not present a familial conflict on interest.
“So when you say ‘you’re my family’ you didn’t mean ‘you’re my family’?” asked Scott Robertson, acting as counsel assisting the commission.
The commission will continue this week.
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