ICAC to investigate former Wagga MP

The NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) will hold a public inquiry starting September 21 as part of an investigation it is conducting into allegations concerning the former NSW Member of Parliament for Wagga Wagga, Mr Daryl Maguire.

The Commission is investigating allegations that, from 2012 to August 2018, Mr Maguire engaged in conduct that involved a breach of public trust by using his public office, involving his duties as a member of the NSW Parliament, and the use of parliamentary resources, to improperly gain a benefit for himself and/or entities close to him. These entities included G8way International/G8way International Pty Ltd and associated persons. 

Mr Maguire resigned from parliament in 2018, after secret tapes were played at an ICAC enquiry revealing discussions involving himself, a Sydney councillior and property developers over a $48m sale of a Sydney property to one of China’s biggest developers.

He resigned from the Liberal Party and announced he would quit as parliamentary secretary for counter terrorism, corrections, veterans and the Centenary of ANZAC.

However, initially, he refused to resign as a member of parliament.

Mr Maguire admitted to the commission that he had been acting on behalf of Country Garden, a Hong Kong-listed company. 

He described Country Garden as “friends” who had “mega big” property deals.

In the recorded calls played at ICAC, Mr Maguire at one stage was heard to ask what “margin” he would get from the “quick sale.”

When told 1.5 per cent, Mr Maguire replied: “1.5 per cent isn’t enough divided by two, if you know what I mean?” and “So three per cent is much better.”

When asked to explain what he meant by that, he said it appeared he was speaking about “a dividend to be shared by two.” When asked who the other interested person would be, he said “I suspect it was me.”

He said the pair intended to introduce property developers to each other and share commissions from sales, but insisted no commissions ever eventuated.

Mr Maguire denied he was an agent for the Chinese developer, but admitted he had “certainly sought to assist them” in purchasing sites in Australian and had become “great friends” with Country Garden’s Australian Chief executive.   

When Mr Maguire, who had been Member for Wagga since 1999 eventually resigned from Parliament, it triggered a by election won by Independent Dr Joe McGirr. 

It was the first time the seat had left Liberal hands since 1957.

The NSW Liberal government recovered from this blow to win the 2019 state election, but Dr McGirr retained his seat. 

The public inquiry will start at 10am on September 21.

The Commission will hold the inquiry in accordance with Covid-19 NSW public health orders, with social distancing and sanitation measures in place. However, due to limited space, the Commission’s premises will remain closed to members of the media and the public. 

The Commission will live stream the proceedings via its website www.icac.nsw.gov.au, and will post exhibits (provided they are not subject to non-publication orders), daily transcripts and witness lists. Updates will also be provided via the ICAC Twitter account (@nswicac).

Due to a potential conflict of interest, the Commission has determined that it is appropriate for an Assistant Commissioner to preside at this inquiry. The Hon Ruth McColl AO SC has been appointed Assistant Commissioner in this matter. Counsel Assisting the Commission will be Mr Scott Robertson and Mr Alex Brown.

It is expected that the inquiry will continue for four weeks.