A former business associate of Daryl Maguire has admitted to a corruption inquiry that she previously lied to investigators and destroyed correspondence between herself and the former Wagga MP.
The Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) has spent the last four weeks investigating Mr Maguire following allegations that he used his parliamentary position for personal benefit.
Maggie Wang first appeared before ICAC as part of the current ‘Operation Keppel’ investigation late last month, after a number of witnesses had mentioned her in reference to an alleged cash-for-visa scheme.
Ms Wang told the Commission on September 29 that she regularly paid up to $20,000 in cash to Mr Maguire in Parliament House as part of the visa scheme, which saw a number of Riverina businesses employ Chinese nationals who never turned up for work.
On Tuesday, Ms Wang admitted that she had lied about the visa scheme during a private ICAC hearing in 2018, instead saying it was a legitimate training program.
“I was panicked, I was shamed. I couldn’t cope. I just thought it was a disaster,” she told the Commission.
Ms Wang maintains that she has been telling the truth during the public hearings, however.
“It’s too hard, I can’t do it anymore,” she said, visibly upset.
“I need to tell the truth, I just need to do it. I don’t know how to explain. I just want everything to end, I don’t want this to keep going. I felt really bad.”
Ms Wang also said she had contacted parties who had received payments from the visa scheme – Shaun Duffy and Angus McLaren – after her 2018 hearing to discourage them from giving evidence that might implicate her, because she “panicked.”
She said she told one businessman involved in the scheme to lie about receiving cash payments.
Ms Wang also agreed that she had an “illegitimate” training agreement with Wagga businessman Mr McLaren, and “wanted [him] to tell a false story” at ICAC.
“I just feel panicked, I didn’t want to get involved in all of this,” she said.
When asked about her last communication with Mr Maguire, Ms Wang said she had met with him in Sydney in 2018 where he told her that he no longer had a number of his electronic devices.
“He said something like, ‘There’s been an unfortunate accident where my phones and iPad have been run over by a tractor,'” she said.
Ms Wang said Mr Maguire had not given her advice about what to do with her records, but that she “already deleted some of his text messages and emails.”
She told the inquiry it was clear Mr Maguire wanted her to delete records of their correspondence about business dealings.
During her testimony, Ms Wang also spoke about a scheme she had discussed with Mr Maguire to bring oil technology to Australia, agreeing to share the profits if it proved successful.
“If the money was made before he retired from Parliament you would have shared with him the money immediately, is that right?” counsel assisting ICAC Scott Robertson asked.
“Yes,” Ms Wang said.
“Just like you did with the immigration?” Mr Robertson said, to which Ms Wang replied, “Yes.”
While Mr Maguire and Ms Wang did share profits from the visa scheme, the oil technology deal ultimately fell through.