HomeGladys Berejiklian ICAC: Barilaro fronts corruption watchdog in ex-Premier investigation

Gladys Berejiklian ICAC: Barilaro fronts corruption watchdog in ex-Premier investigation

John Barilaro said the NSW corruption watchdog ICAC was like ‘fight club’ and vowed not to talk about it – but today he will have no choice but to spill.

Former NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro will appear as a witness on Monday in a corruption hearing into the conduct of Gladys Berejiklian.

Mr Barilaro quit politics earlier this month, just days after Ms Berejiklian stepped down as premier as a result of the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) going public with its investigation into her.

He is expected to be asked about his role in handling money requests by an MP with whom Ms Berejiklian was in a secret relationship.

Among the allegations the ICAC is probing is whether Ms Berejiklian’s relationship with the former Wagga Wagga MP, Daryl Maguire, created a conflict of interest.

ICAC investigators have pursued two grants handed to Mr Maguire’s electorate during Ms Berejiklian’s time as treasurer and premier.

The money, $5.5 million to a gun club and some $30 million to a music conservatorium, was handed over to Wagga Wagga, even though senior bureaucrats involved in the grants process believed the funding requests seemed incomplete and rushed.

The ICAC is exploring whether Ms Berejiklian was allegedly pushing for the grants behind the scenes. Though the former premier has not yet testified, she has previously denied wrongdoing and said she always acted with integrity in office.

The corruption watchdog has previously heard a staffer for Mr Barilaro “inserted himself” into the grants process, helping the gun club argue its funding request would bring a benefit to the state.

The involvement by political staffer Peter Minucos in “a process that typically public servants would have taken control of” was considered unusual and irksome by the bureaucracy, the ICAC heard last week.

Mr Minucos is scheduled to testify on Monday as well.

Neither he nor Mr Barilaro have been accused of wrongdoing.

When Mr Barilaro resigned from office on October 4, three days after Ms Berejiklian quit, he refused to say whether he had been approached by ICAC investigators.

‘The first rule of fight club is not to talk about fight club,” Mr Barilaro said, referencing the 1999 movie starring Brad Pitt.

“The truth is this, if you are being subpoenaed by ICAC, you can’t talk about it. Leave the ICAC stuff alone, it is an independent body that needs to make judgment on issues.”

More to come


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