As the NSW ICAC renews its investigation into Daryl Maguire, here’s a refresher of all the charges he’s facing…and who he’s tied to.
In March, the ICAC recommended that former Liberal MP Daryl Maguire will face criminal charges due to “serious corrupt conduct by dishonestly and partially exercising their official functions.”
The Independent Anti-Corruption Commission (ICAC) found also found that former Canterbury City councillors Michael Hawatt and Pierre Azzi, and then director of city planning Spiro Stavis misused their positions in relation to planning proposals and applications at the Council. The ICAC recommended seeking advice from the Director of Public Prosecutions “with respect to the prosecution of Mr Hawatt, Mr Azzi, Mr Stavis, Charbel Demian, Daryl Maguire and Marwan Chanine for various offences.”
The commission found Mr Maguire should be considered for prosecution over two offences under the ICAC Act, for “giving false or misleading evidence at the public inquiry on July 13, 2018.”
In February, the inquiry into the Integrity, Efficacy and Value for Money of NSW Government Grant Programs heard that the NSW Premier approved a $20 million grant in Wagga Wagga without going through the required approval process.
Moreover, the grant was announced during the Wagga Wagga by-election that was sparked by the resignation of Daryl Maguire over corruption claims; Mr Maguire is, of course, the person with which Ms Berejiklian had a ‘secret relationship’ during that time.
Earlier this year, the parliamentary inquiry heard evidence from the deputy secretary of the Public Works Advisory, Chris Hanger.
Mr Hanger told the inquiry that there was no written approval process for the reservation of the additional $20 million funding, although the money was intended to continue work on an already committed $10 million redevelopment of the conservatorium.
Mr Hanger told the hearing it was ‘unusual’ for money from the Regional Growth Fund to be reserved without a formal application. “But that doesn’t stop the government from reserving funding so that people like a conservatorium…when they put together a business case that meets the criteria, they have knowledge the funding will be there,” he said.
He also told the inquiry that public servants were told the business case would be submitted, but it has never appeared.
As Anne Davies of The Guardian noted, the ICAC is currently focusing on a “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.
“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’
“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.”
In January, an investigation by the State Archives and Records Authority (the ‘SARA’) found that the New South Wales Premier’s office broke the law when staff shredded documents relating to the allocation of $252 million in grant money from the Stronger Communities Fund. Yet, no one is likely to face prosecution.
Under the State Records Act 1988, Section 11 requires public officers to retain state records.
Section 21 of the State Records Act 1998 states that a person must not “abandon or dispose of a State record”, nor “damage or alter a State record.”
Maguire’s links with Berejiklian
The inquiry has already heard that six grants from the Stronger Communities Fund were awarded to projects in the electorate of Wagga Wagga in 2017 during the time the Premier was in a relationship with Daryl Maguire, and during his tenure as MP for the electorate.
There have also been questions raised about how much Ms Berejiklian knew about Mr Maguire’s questionable business dealings, along with allegations that she turned a ‘blind eye’, breaching her legal obligation to report what she knew. These are accusations the Premier has strongly denied.
Berejiklian has repeatedly denied any impropriety in the handling of the grants. She told ICAC she did not recall some of the conversations and text messages played to her as evidence, and despite other inconsistencies in her testimony, she has been cleared of any wrongdoing by the ICAC, although the entire saga has left her reputation tainted and her integrity in question in the court of public opinion.
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.”