Berejiklian ICAC report due after election

Phoebe Loomes |

A corruption watchdog’s report into former NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian won’t be delivered until after the state election in March.

The investigation into Ms Berejiklian began after the ICAC initially launched inquiries into her ex-boyfriend, the disgraced former Liberal Wagga Wagga MP, Daryl Maguire.

The investigation, dubbed Operation Keppel, is examining whether Mr Maguire allegedly used his role as an MP to gain a financial benefit, and whether Ms Berejiklian breached the public trust by concealing their relationship.

The corruption watchdog turned its attention to the former premier in October of 2021, after she revealed during a public hearing they had been seeing one another for about five years.

She described Mr Maguire as being in her “love circle” while under questioning during one of the ICAC’s hearings.

While substantial parts of the report have already been drafted, the reviewing, editing and production processes mean the report will not be published in the first quarter of the year, an update from the Independent Commission Against Corruption said on Wednesday.

The NSW state election is due to be held on March 25.

ICAC said the report concerned complex matters of law and fact, two public inquiries which proceeded over 30 days, more than 2,800 pages of transcript, 516 exhibits comprising approximately 10,600 pages and 957 pages of submissions.

The report is likely to be published in the second quarter of the year, the corruption watchdog added, close to 18 months after Ms Berejiklian’s resignation.

The last submission was received in mid-October, the ICAC noted.

“It is necessary that the issues relevant to the investigation are addressed carefully,” the ICAC said.

“The Commission and Ms McColl remain conscious of the obligation under section 74(7) of the ICAC Act to furnish investigation reports as soon as possible after the Commission has concluded its involvement in a matter.”

Ms Berejiklian’s tearful resignation shocked many NSW voters, who left flowers and balloons outside her Willoughby electorate office following the announcement.

“I want to be very clear, in all the decisions I have ever made … my first consideration has always been the welfare and wellbeing of the people of this state,” she said at the time.

“I’ve always acted with the highest level of integrity.”

The investigation of the former premier hinges on whether concealing the relationship breached the public trust, whether she improperly handled projects pursued by Mr Maguire, and if she engaged in conduct “liable to allow or encourage corruption” by him.

Ms Berejiklian has denied any wrongdoing.