The former Premier of NSW, Gladys Berejiklian, denies having suspicions her boyfriend, disgraced former politician Daryl Maguire was corrupt.
The revelation came out today at the beginning of a two week ICAC (Independent Commission Against Corruption) hearing into Ms. Berejiklian’s actions during her time as Premier. At the time she was in a secret relationship with former Wagga Wagga politician Daryl Maguire.
The commission is investigating Ms. Berejiklian’s role in funding provided for projects in Maguire’s constituency, in particular, whether she breached public trust or encourage corrupt conduct during her secret five-year relationship.
According to a report in the Sydney Morning Herald, a video interview of a closed examination of Ms. Berejiklian on 18 September was played at the Commission today.
In the video, the lawyer assisting the Commission, Scott Robertson, asked Ms. Berejiklian if she had any suspicions about Maguire.
“I was in shock. I didn’t know what to think … I hadn’t read what was happening. I can’t remember what I thought at that time,” she said.
“I didn’t know, I couldn’t make any assumption at that stage. He was professing his innocence and saying it was a misunderstanding.
“I also knew that, given the dramatic way in which the information had been revealed and what it could mean, I wasn’t sure. But under the circumstances, given he was a parliamentary secretary, I thought it appropriate to ask him to stand aside until the matters were investigated.”
The lawyer asked her again if she had any ‘suspicions.’ She said, ‘No.’
The investigation will focus on A$35 million worth of grants to the Australian Clay Target Association and the Riverina Conservatorium of Music in Mr Maguire’s electorate while they were in a relationship and Ms Berejiklian was treasurer.
In his opening statement Roberston outlined the crux of the case:
“We also expect the evidence to demonstrate that Ms Berejiklian made or participated in the making of decisions … that advanced the building projects advocated for by Mr Maguire, but without disclosing to anyone within government that she was in a close personal relationship with Mr Maguire at the time,”
The hearing continues tomorrow.