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Thursday, August 01, 2013

More transparency, just a start

NSW shame revealed. All you can say is some of it bubbled to the surface- eventually.

From today's Sydney Morning Herald-the paper (and its journalists) that deserves enormous credit for pursuing these issues for years.  The editorial reminding it has lessons for the here and now:
No matter which political party is in power, the public deserves to know public administration pays heed to their interests over individual or party ones.
Facing a much-weakened Labor opposition, the O'Farrell government has fallen short on transparency of major projects such as the casino for Packer interests at Barangaroo. But ICAC has put O'Farrell on notice that more is needed to prevent corruption, suggesting it will release reports later this month drawing on failures of process under Macdonald's watch......
"Corruption findings have been made and criminal charges flagged against Eddie Obeid, the former ALP powerbroker, and his sons, as well as the state's former resources minister Ian Macdonald, and a host of businessmen - including an accused murderer - after the most significant graft inquiry in NSW history.

Three reports by the Independent Commission Against Corruption were tabled on Wednesday morning in the NSW Parliament, following almost three years of secret investigation by the commission, and almost six months of public hearings that concluded earlier this year.

In two of the reports, Mr Macdonald was slapped with a corruption finding - including for accepting a night in a luxury hotel room with a prostitute named "Tiffanie".

Evidence gathered by the corruption fighters about Mr Macdonald will now be referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions for potential criminal charges, including corruptly receiving a benefit and misconduct in public office.
The offences carries a maximum penalty of seven years in jail.

Criminal charges may also be laid against one the nation's richest men, Travers Duncan, merchant banker Richard Poole, John McGuigan and John Atkinson, both former partners of law firm Baker & McKenzie, and former RAMS Home Loans founder John Kinghorn.

They were part of a consortium of investors in Cascade Coal, which won the right to explore for coal at Mount Penny, in the Bylong Valley near Mudgee - an area in which the Obeids had bought up land by exploiting inside knowledge courtesy of Mr Macdonald....."

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