ICAC DARYL MAGUIRE
NSW Liberal government MP Daryl Maguire has resigned after he was caught discussing a possible cut he and a local councillor could pocket from the multi-million dollar sale of a Sydney property to one of China's biggest developers.
Mr Maguire was secretly recorded on several occasions trying to strike a deal with then Canterbury City councillor Michael Hawatt, who is at the centre of an Independent Commission Against Corruption investigation.
The conversations were aired during an ICAC hearing in Sydney on Friday.
Mr Maguire gave evidence to the inquiry, making a number of admissions, before announcing he would quit his role as parliamentary secretary for counter terrorism, corrections, veterans and the Centenary of ANZAC.
He will also stand down from the Liberal party but will stay on as an independent MP.
"I apologise unreservedly for causing distress and embarrassment to my party," he said in a statement.
"I am deeply sorry and apologise sincerely for any hurt and embarrassment I have caused to my family, friends and colleagues."
Acting NSW Premier John Barilaro said he had discussed the matter with Liberal leader Gladys Berejiklian - who is on leave - and accepted Mr Maguire's resignation.
"He's admitted that he's done wrong and is now paying that price," Mr Barilaro told reporters.
"He will have to face the people of Wagga ... and he will have to earn their trust back."
Mr Maguire, who has been the member for Wagga Wagga since 1999, was heard telling Mr Hawatt he had a client with "mega money" who would be interested in a site in Canterbury which had been approved for 300 units.
He asked the councillor what "margin" he would get from the "quick sale", worth up to $51 million.
"1.5 per cent isn't enough divided by two if you know what I mean?" Mr Maguire said.
"Yeah, I understand. Yeah I do understand," Mr Hawatt said.
Mr Maguire replied: "So three per cent is much better."
Asked to explain what he had meant, Mr Maguire said it appeared he was speaking about "a dividend to be shared by two".
When asked who the other interested person would be, the government backbencher said: "Well, I suspect it was me."
He said the pair intended to introduce property developers to each other and share commissions from sales - but insisted no commissions ever eventuated.
Mr Maguire denied he was an agent for the Chinese developer - Country Garden - but conceded he had "certainly sought to assist" them in purchasing sites in Australia and had become "great friends" with Country Garden's Australian chief executive.
The parliamentary secretary was heard in another recording discussing with Mr Hawatt that if the developer needed a strategic policy engagement director, he was "it".
"They can pay my company," he said.
He suggested Country Garden could pay a retainer and then "a couple of grand a day" if he went into the office.
In another recording, Mr Maguire said he had asked the local government minister's office to put forward Mr Hawatt on the new Canterbury-Bankstown advisory council.
The corruption watchdog is investigating claims of improper conduct at the now defunct Canterbury City Council - in particular, the actions of two councillors, Mr Hawatt and Pierre Azzi.