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‘At an arm’s length’: ICAC hearing into former NSW MP Daryl Maguire begins

Counsel assisting the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption Scott Robertson asked the inquiry to consider whether Mr Maguire breached his duty as a member of Parliament “by pursuing his own financial interests, and those of his associates.”

The first topic that will be explored is Mr Maguire’s involvement with G8wayinternational.

In his opening submission Mr Robertson alleged Mr Maguire used G8wayinternational to pursue commercial opportunities, “albeit while formally distancing himself from its formal ownership and managerial instruction.”

Business opportunities on behalf of the company were largely pursued in China, Australia, or in the South Pacific, involving Chinese associates, he said.

The hearing heard an extract of a 2017 phone call between Mr Maguire and an associate, in which he said “Samoa is definitely a go,” while discussing a trip to the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea.

Mr Robertson suggested “Samoa” was a reference to a casino development in which Mr Maguire and or G8wayinternational may have had a financial interest.

In another call in 2016 about a business arrangement that was played to the hearing, Mr Maguire told an associate “they can pay my company but the work has to be done by others at an arm’s length.”

Mr Robertson asked the commission to consider whether Mr Maguire “improperly used his role, and the diplomatic weight of his office as chair of the Asia Pacific Friendship Group as a door opener, or perhaps a gateway in the pursuit of his own financial interests, as well as in the pursuit of private Chinese business interests.”

Sole director and shareholder of G8wayinternational Phillip Elliott will give evidence on Monday.

Mr Maguire resigned from the Liberal Party in 2018. He initially refused to leave politics, saying he would remain as an independent until the March 2019 state election. He later decided to bow out. His resignation sparked a byelection, which the government lost to independent Joe McGirr.

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