Member for Wagga Wagga Daryl Maguire has given evidence at the ICAC. (Melinda Hayter)
New South Wales Government MP Daryl Maguire has resigned from his role as a parliamentary secretary and will now sit on the crossbench after admitting before a corruption inquiry that he sought payment over a property deal.
Mr Maguire stepped aside from the parliamentary Liberal Party after the revelations at the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC).
The corruption watchdog is investigating claims of improper conduct by former Canterbury City councillors Michael Hawatt and Pierre Azzi and today heard a tapped phone call between Mr Hawatt and Mr Maguire.
Mr Maguire, the Liberal MP for Wagga Wagga, told the ICAC he pursued Mr Hawatt on behalf of Chinese “friends” from the company Country Garden who he was trying to help get established in Australia.
‘3pc is better, if you know what I’m talking about’
In a phone conversation played before the inquiry from May 2016, Mr Maguire said his friends were “mega big with mega money” and wanted to invest in as many as 30 development-approved properties.
Mr Hawatt suggested a $48 million project on Canterbury Road in Canterbury.
In the phone call, Mr Maguire asks Mr Hawatt what his margin is on the property.
Mr Hawatt replies that his margin is 1.5 per cent.
“1.5 per cent divided by two isn’t very good,” Mr Maguire says.
“Three per cent is a lot better, if you know what I’m talking about.”
Listen to the phone call between Maguire and Hawatt
When questioned by counsel assisting the commission, David Buchanan, Mr Maguire said he had no client or consultant relationship with Country Garden.
But when challenged as to why he was interested in what the margin was on the property, Mr Maguire told the hearing: “It appears I was talking about a dividend.”
“Who was the intended person?” Mr Buchanan asked.
“I suspect it was me,” Mr Maguire replied.
Maguire stays in Parliament, sorry for ’embarrassment’
Outside the ICAC, Mr Maguire apologised for causing “embarrassment and disappointment to a lot of people” before heading to a meeting with Acting Premier John Barilaro.
Daryl Maguire leaves the ICAC after giving evidence. (ABC News)
Shortly after, Mr Barilaro announced that he had accepted Mr Maguire’s resignation but would not be drawn on whether Mr Maguire should quit Parliament altogether.
Mr Barilaro said he and the Premier expected “the highest of standards when it comes to integrity for all members of the NSW Parliament”.
“Today Daryl told the truth, he’s admitted that he’s done wrong and he’s now paying that price,” Mr Barilaro said, adding that Mr Maguire would be taking leave.
“I’m very disappointed. That’s why in this state, this government has put in place the toughest legislation when it comes to corruption, something that we’ve worked very hard for to give confidence to the people of NSW that we would stamp out corruption.”
Earlier, Acting NSW Opposition Leader Michael Daley called on Premier Gladys Berejiklian to sack Mr Maguire in light of his “explosive evidence” at the ICAC.
The inquiry continues.