News Politics No ICAC news for Berejiklian until February

No ICAC news for Berejiklian until February

gladys berejiklian icac
Ms Berejiklian has to wait until 2022 to learn the recommendations of counsel assisting the ICAC.
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Former NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian will have to wait another two months before learning if the state’s corruption watchdog will argue she breached the public’s trust by failing to disclose her relationship with a disgraced former MP.

Ms Berejiklian’s then partner Daryl Maguire was the one originally under the microscope of the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption last year, for allegedly using his position as an MP to gain a financial benefit for himself.

But when she sensationally revealed their clandestine relationship, it sparked a separate investigation into her own conduct, which resulted in her resigning as premier on October 1.

A month later Ms Berejiklian spent a bruising two days in the witness box at the Operation Keppel public hearings, with the inquiry investigating whether she breached public trust in failing to disclose the relationship.

It is also probing whether she improperly handled projects Mr Maguire was pursuing, or whether she engaged in conduct “liable to allow or encourage corruption” by him.

Counsel assisting the inquiry was initially due to submit his recommendations for findings by December 20.

But the ICAC on Friday announced Scott Robertson would take more time to prepare his arguments, with the submissions now due to relevant parties by February 15.

Submissions in response are to be provided to ICAC by March 28.

They will not be made public.

Over the two weeks of public hearings, the inquiry heard from public servants and MPs, with many saying saying Ms Berejiklian should have disclosed her relationship to avoid the appearance of impropriety.

However Ms Berejiklian defended her decision to keep the relationship under wraps, saying it wasn’t of sufficient status, despite agreeing the pair loved each other, contemplated marriage and discussed having a child.

The inquiry also heard that two grants at the centre of the probe did not face a competitive tender process and were at times opposed by senior public servants.

During Ms Berejiklian’s nine hours of evidence, she was played several intercepted phone calls with Mr Maguire.

In one, she can be heard saying she got “$170 million in five minutes” for a hospital in his electorate.

In other calls Mr Maguire can be heard railing against ICAC, and telling Ms Berejiklian to get a second phone.

Ms Berejiklian said she had no clue Mr Maguire was doing anything “untoward”, and he did not get any preferential treatment from her.

Last week, she ruled out a return to politics, despite days of speculation and encouragement from federal government MPs to run for the federal seat of Warringah.

She told Sydney radio station she is “looking forward to a much less public life”.