Gladys Berejiklian sweats as her secret lover Daryl Maguire confesses to receiving bags containing thousands of dollars in cash at parliament house as part of scheme to get Australian visas for Chinese nationals
- Bombshells dropped as Daryl Maguire steps into the witness box at the ICAC
- Maguire was in a secret relationship with Gladys Berejiklian for five years
- Former MP admitted receiving deliveries of thousands of dollars at his office
- Maguire agreed he turned his office ‘partly’ over to G8way International firm
- The company ‘ultimately’ sold access to the ‘highest levels of government’
- Ex-Wagga MP is accused of misusing his public office for financial gain
- The inquiry has heard how his phones, iPad allegedly went under a tractor
Daryl Maguire has stepped into the witness box at the ICAC inquiry to give evidence after his former lover Gladys Berejiklian revealed their secret relationship
Gladys Berejiklian’s secret former lover admits receiving deliveries of thousands of dollars at his parliamentary office in a ‘cash for visa scheme’ where he obtained Australian visas for Chinese nationals.
Former Wagga MP Daryl Maguire dropped a series of extraordinary bombshells in just the morning of a corruption inquiry in Sydney on Wednesday.
Maguire, 61, admitted to the Independent Commission Against Corruption hearing that he ‘partly’ turned his Macquarie St office over to the firm G8way Interational.
The company is described as an intermediary between China and Australia which the former politician agreed ‘ultimately’ sold access ‘to the highest levels of government’.
Maguire told the inquiry he secretly acted as a director of the business – which had interests in milk powder, a coal mine, a gold mine, cotton, wine, steel and a showroom in Shenzen, China.
But the business’s major priority appeared to be what he accepted was a ‘cash for visa scheme’ for Chinese nationals, where his company would receive a ‘success fee’ if a visa was successfully obtained.
He used an email address to the effect of: ‘email@example.com’ for the business and admitted keeping the money ‘off the books’ so he wouldn’t have to disclose it to Parliament.
Maguire admitted he knew the scheme involved lying to immigration officials.
WATCH THE ICAC INQUIRY HERE
A screengrab from G8way international’s website which claims its ‘influence and experience reaches to high levels of governnment’. Maguire was a secret director of the firm which ‘partly’ operated from his offices at Macquarie St, and he has admitted this is a reference to himself
NSW Premier Berejiklian is sweating the former Wagga Wagga MP’s days of evidence after sensationally revealing she had a five year ‘close personal relationship’ with Maguire, after he split with his wife Maureen.
The love affair occurred even as she knew Maguire was accused of misusing his public office for financial benefit, sacking him in 2018.
In a defiant appearance in front of reporters on Wednesday, Berejiklian said her ‘tolerance for answering questions which frankly are offensive’ was waning.
The Premier said Maguire had ‘obviously … fooled a lot of people’ and insisted she had done nothing wrong.
‘I have stressed over and over again, I had no knowledge of any wrongdoing.’
Gladys Berejiklian’s career is on the line as her ex-lover Maguire gives evidence at the ICAC in Sydney, two days after she revealed their secret relationship
The Premier is above with Maguire in happier times
Maguire frankly admitted many of the statements put to him by counsel assisting Scott Robertson – from everything from ‘monetising’ his office as an MP, parliamentary secretary and chair of the Asia-Pacific Parliamentary Friendship group from 2012 to 2018, to ‘partly’ turning his office at Parliament House into one for G8way International.
It was only moments into the hearing that he admitted having received several cash deliveries for the visa scheme at his parliamentary office.
‘Do you agree that on more than one occasion, you received deliveries in your Parliament House office of thousands of dollars in cash associated with a scheme involving the obtaining of Australian visas for Chinese nationals,’ Mr Robertson asked.
‘Yes,’ Maguire said. Asked how many times the funds were delivered – ‘certainly more than one and less than say, 20, the counsel assisting suggested – Maguire said: ‘I don’t know. I don’t recall.’
‘Could it have been 20?’ commissioner Ruth McColl asked.
‘I don’t know, Commissioner,’ he said.
The inquiry was told how G8way promoted itself on its website as having ‘influence and expertise (that) reaches to high levels of government’.
Maguire said that was a reference to himself.
There was one thing, however, that Maguire ruled as too far.
Asked if he ever took a fee for introducing people to state politicians, he said: ‘That would be going too far.’
Sceptical Mr Robertson said: ‘So not too far to monetise your office in the way I’ve just identified but too far to monetise it in by way of introduction to a government official?’
‘Do you seriously draw that distinction?’ Robertson asked.
Maguire was then grilled about claims he charged a fee to make an introduction to former premier Barry O’Farrell, who himself was toppled by ICAC after failing to declare a bottle of Grange from a property developer.
Mr Robertson asked Maguire why an invoice made reference to an ‘introductory service’.
Maguire said: ‘I know what it says. But my recollection is there was a luncheon to be paid for’.
The Chinese delegation meeting with Premier Barry O’Farrell. A document appeared to allege Maguire’s G8way International company had charged them for an ‘introductory service’
This G8way International invoice appears to charge a fee to the Secretary of China’s Liaoning Province for an ‘introductory service’
Maguire with two premiers – Barry O’Farrell and Gladys Berejiklian
Later in the hearing, Maguire admitted his visa business could be described as a ‘cash for visas scheme’.
Chinese nationals placed in Australia would pay their own wages while ’employed’ and cough up a training fee plus another sum for Maguire’s business.
‘This was a cash-for-visas scheme, wasn’t it? Mr Robertson asked.
‘It appears that way, yes,’ Mr Maguire replied.
Berejiklian – who is yet to be named during the inquiry on Wednesday – claims she kept her relationship with Maguire hidden from her family, friends and colleagues and cut off all contact just last month.
Reports on Wednesday heaped further pressure on the Premier amid concerns her private relationship could have seen her targeted by foreign agents.
Nine newspapers revealed the Premier had met with two publicans with criminal records at the behest of Maguire in 2018 after at least one minister allegedly refused.
On Tuesday, the ICAC inquiry heard that Maguire had told a former associate he had an ‘unfortunate accident’ where his phones and iPad were destroyed by a tractor.
Maggie Wang said she met the Wagga MP at a Sydney coffee shop after he retired from Parliament in 2018.
Asked what they talked about, Ms Wang said: ‘I think I remember … he mentioned about a unfortunate, unfortunate accident in the paddock with his phones and iPad.’
She then clarified the accident was ‘under tractors.’
Counsel assisting the inquiry Scott Robertson said: ‘So what, he said something like, ‘There’s been an unfortunate accident where my phones and iPad have been,’ what, ‘Run over by a tractor,’ something like that?’
‘Yeah, something like that,’ Ms Wang said.
Evidence in front of the inquiry showed Maguire repeatedly raised his business dealings with Berejiklian over a number of years.
Berejiklian and Maguire are seen meeting the Chinese leader Xi Jinping in 2014, in a photograph tendered to the Independent Commission Against Corruption
Berejiklian on Monday listened to a phone tap where Maguire discussed his attempts to cash in on the development of a second airport at Badgerys Creek.
‘We’ve done our deal so hopefully that’s about half of all that gone now,’ Maguire said before the premier replied: ‘I don’t need to know about that bit.’
Ms Berejikilan has insisted that she has ‘done nothing wrong’ and was not aware of any wrongdoing by Maguire.
‘I stuffed up in my personal life,’ she said after the hearing on Monday.
‘Had I known then what I know now, clearly I would not have made those personal decisions.’
Prime Minister Scott Morrison today again threw his weight behind Ms Berejiklian, saying she should not resign because she has been a great leader during the coronavirus pandemic.
‘Right now New South Wales needs Gladys Berejiklian more than ever,’ he told radio 2GB.
He added: ‘It would have been incredibly tough to admit to some personal decisions that obviously she regrets. And she’s been very upfront with people, and I think very vulnerable with people about it. But in that vulnerability, there’s been great strength. And, you know, her integrity is not in question.’
Labor leader Jodi McKay gave notice she would move a motion of no confidence against the premier in parliament on Wednesday.
‘She turned a blind eye to corruption in her government by failing to report her knowledge of Daryl Maguire’s business dealings for six and a half years,’ Ms McKay said.
The vote is likely to fail because the government has a majority in the lower house.
Mr Maguire is expected to be grilled for two days before the four-week inquiry wraps.
A timeline of Gladys Berejiklian and Daryl Maguire’s relationship
* Berejiklian and Maguire begin a ‘close personal relationship’ around the time of the NSW election. Berejiklian was the transport minister while Maguire, a parliamentary secretary, was separated from his ex-wife.
APRIL 2, 2015:
* Berejiklian is appointed NSW treasurer after the coalition is re-elected.
JANUARY 23, 2017:
* Berejiklian becomes NSW premier, replacing Mike Baird. Maguire is retained as a parliamentary secretary in her government.
* Berejiklian tells Maguire she would like him to quit parliament at the 2019 election so the pair can go public with their relationship.
Berejiklian says Maguire also wanted that.
SEPTEMBER 7, 2017:
* Ms Berejiklian is heard in a telephone intercept saying she ‘didn’t need to know about that bit’ as Mr Maguire discusses his financial interests at Badgerys Creek Airport, and a land deal which would net him a large windfall.
A day earlier, Mr Maguire texted Ms Berejiklian that ‘we clinched the land deal’.
* Louise Waterhouse, a western Sydney landowner, twice emailed Berejiklian after being given her private address by Maguire. She requested help with rezoning changes around Badgerys Creek Airport that would benefit a parcel of her land. Berejiklian did not respond.
JULY 13, 2018:
* Maguire appears before ICAC, with evidence heard that he sought payments to help broker deals for property developers.
AUGUST 3, 2018:
* Maguire resigns from the Berejiklian government at the behest of Ms Berejiklian and other frontbenchers, with Berejiklian saying she is ‘pleased’ and ‘relieved’ but privately she remains in contact with Maguire.
MARCH 23, 2019:
* The coalition retains government in the 2019 NSW election.
SEPTEMBER 13, 2020:
* Berejiklian cuts off all contact with Maguire and agrees to support an ICAC inquiry into his business interests.
OCTOBER 12, 2020:
* Berejiklian’s relationship with Maguire is revealed at ICAC.