ICAC hearing into Obeid, Macdonald wraps up


ICAC hearing into Obeid, Macdonald wraps up

By court reporter Jamelle Wells, ABCMarch 7, 2013, 6:35 pm



The corruption inquiry into the activities of former New South Wales Labor ministers Eddie Obeid and Ian Macdonald has finished hearing evidence.

For the past three months the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) has been investigating allegations Mr Macdonald rigged a 2008 tender process for a coal licence in the NSW Upper Hunter to benefit Mr Obeid.

The inquiry has heard the Obeid family stood to make up to $100 million from mining deals.

While Operation Jasper has finished hearing from witnesses, it will now take written submissions.

After some documents were submitted today, counsel assisting Geoffrey Watson SC said to Commissioner David Ipp: “That’s all there is. There ain’t no more, commissioner.”

Another exploration licence issued by Mr Macdonald, at Doyles Creek, is due to be examined in Operation Acacia, starting on March 18.

Mr Ipp will hand down the findings from both inquiries in July.

The commissioner has previously told the inquiry it is clear that Mr Obeid and his wife have funded their luxury lifestyle by the sale of their stake in a coal company.

The inquiry has heard that Mr Obeid and his wife bought homes and leased luxury cars with the $30 million they made from the Mount Penny tenement in the Bylong Valley, and selling their stake in the company Cascade Coal.

The Obeids are accused of using inside knowledge from Mr Macdonald, the former mining minister, to corruptly profit, but the Obeid family and Mr Macdonald have denied any wrongdoing.

The inquiry has heard evidence from former premiers Nathan Rees and Morris Iemma, as well as Mr Obeid, his wife Judith and some of their children and associates.

It also heard from high-profile businessmen including mining magnate Travers Duncan and RAMS home loans founder John Kinghorn.
Many of the witnesses have received legal aid and the inquiry has been held in a purpose-built hearing room to cater for the many legal teams involved.

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