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Canberra Today 17°/22° | Monday, March 4, 2024 | Digital Edition | Crossword & Sudoku

Berejiklian launches legal bid against ICAC finding

Gladys Berejiklian denies she committed any wrongdoing during her time in office. (Mick Tsikas/AAP PHOTOS)

By Samantha Lock in Sydney

FORMER NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian has launched a legal bid to overturn findings she engaged in serious corrupt conduct during her time in office.

The Court of Appeal challenge against the NSW corruption watchdog’s findings is listed for a first directions hearing in Sydney’s Supreme Court on October 9.

In its report released in June, the Independent Commission Against Corruption found Ms Berejiklian acted corruptly while in a five-year relationship with a Liberal MP trying to advance his financial interests.

It did not suggest she should face criminal charges.

The near two-year investigation examined whether Ms Berejiklian breached the public trust by failing to disclose her personal relationship with Daryl Maguire when she was treasurer and later premier.

Operation Keppel began as a probe into Maguire but was expanded to the coalition premier after she was compelled to reveal the relationship in public hearings in 2020.

She denied any wrongdoing, telling the watchdog that the romance, which began in 2015, had ended.

Ms Berejiklian resigned as premier in October 2021, when she officially became part of the investigation.

ICAC found both Ms Berejiklian and Maguire had engaged in serious corrupt conduct.

It found Ms Berejiklian breached the public trust in 2016 and 2017 in relation to funding promised to the Wagga Wagga-based Australian Clay Target Association.

“(She did so) without disclosing her close personal relationship with Mr Maguire, when she was in a position of a conflict of interest between her public duty and her private interest, which could objectively have the potential to influence the performance of her public duty,” ICAC said it its report.

ICAC found Ms Berejiklian, 53, also engaged in serious corrupt conduct in relation to the Riverina Conservatorium of Music, another project advanced by Maguire.

After quitting office, Ms Berejiklian turned down an opportunity to run for federal parliament before moving into the private sector as an Optus executive.

Premier Chris Minns said he was not concerned about the appeal.

“That’s her right as a citizen,” he told reporters in Sydney on Saturday.

“Everybody has an appeal right to the ICAC and it’s up to her whether she wants to take it up.”

Ms Berejiklian and ICAC have been contacted for comment.

 

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