Former NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell was allegedly given a $1195 Mont Blanc pen by a construction company but never declared it and says he has no memory of receiving it.
According to a Fairfax report, construction business Thiess purchased the pen for Mr O’Farrell while they were bidding for major construction contracts in Sydney.
Mr O’Farrell was forced to resign in April last year after he failed to declare receiving a $3000 bottle of Grange wine from a Liberal donor, which he blamed on a “massive memory fail”.
A review of Thiess’ expense accounts identified the pen was a gift for Mr O’Farrell and was purchased sometime between 2012 and 2013.
Gifts of more than $500 have to be declared on the NSW Parliamentary register.
In a statement to Fairfax, the former premier said he had only met a representative from Thiess once, and was never given a pen from the company.
“Having checked with the minister for transport and my staff who attended the event, none of us recall a Mont Blanc pen being presented to me.
“If such a gift had arrived separately in my office, it would have been dealt with by my staff in accordance with the ministerial and parliamentary guidelines.”
Thiess was one of a number of companies which won the $1 billion contract to help construct Sydney’s North West Rail Link.
Before his resignation, Mr O’Farrell told the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) he would remember a bottle of Grange if he had received it, before ICAC produced a written thank-you note as evidence.
The revelations come just days after Fairfax revealed Thiess chief executive Bruce Munro was wanted in India for questioning in an alleged fraud case.