'Wipe everything': Disgraced MP admits he instructed staff to delete all records

Australian Associated Press
·4-min read

Disgraced former NSW MP Daryl Maguire has admitted he instructed his staff to "wipe everything" after an appearance at a 2018 corruption inquiry that forced his resignation.

The former member for Wagga Wagga resigned in August 2018, a month after he became embroiled in the Independent Commission Against Corruption inquiry.

He is now the subject of his own corruption probe over his dealings with property developers and a "cash for visas" scheme.

In the closing of his evidence, Mr Maguire agreed he had breached public trust and improperly used his status and office to gain benefits for himself.

Daryl Maguire arrives at the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) hearing in Sydney, Friday, October 16, 2020.
Daryl Maguire has admitted telling his staff to "wipe everything" - including documents that may have been incriminating. Source: AAP

But in 2018 he was less forthcoming, on Friday telling the ICAC he instructed his electoral staff to delete all his records, which may have been incriminating.

"When it became evident that I could no longer retain the position of member for Wagga Wagga... yes, I told them to wipe everything," Mr Maguire said.

He also admitted a back-up copy of his files on a USB was "dropped" at his farm gate and run over several times, rejecting the suggestion he had destroyed it deliberately.

"I did genuinely drop the thing at the gate," he said.

"Did you try and pick it up?" counsel assisting the inquiry Scott Robertson asked.

"No, I didn't realise that I had dropped it," Mr Maguire replied.

Mr Maguire also conceded he had told some of his business associates to delete their records too.

He told one his phone and iPad had been involved in an "unfortunate" tractor accident, when they were actually seized by ICAC, to encourage her to ditch her own records, he said.

"Part of the reason you sought for your records to be destroyed was to keep them away from either this commission or any investigative authority... do you agree?" Mr Robertson asked.

A supplied screengrab obtained Wednesday, October 14, 2020 of former Wagga Wagga MP Daryl Maguire giving evidence during the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption inquiring allegations of "breach of public trust to improperly gain a benefit".
Mr Maguire has given evidence over the past three days at the ICAC inquiry. Source: AAP

"Part of," Mr Maguire replied.

Earlier on Friday ICAC apologised to Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Mr Maguire, after a transcript of suppressed details of their relationship was accidentally uploaded online.

The transcript of the closed-door hearing, during which Mr Maguire was grilled about sensitive details of their relationship, was available online for more than 30 minutes.

How the private transcript came to be uploaded will be investigated.

Ms Berejiklian has been forced to defend her integrity after admitting on Monday she had a five-year relationship with Mr Maguire. She insists she had no inkling his dealings may be dodgy.

On Friday, private hearings on Thursday were released showing Mr Maguire admitted to a relationship with Ms Berejiklian forming as early as 2013 and becoming "close" in 2014. Both previously said it began around 2015.

Mr Maguire told the inquiry he did shield the premier from details of his business activities, but had used her as a "sounding board".

"I thought it would cause her difficulties, so I limited the information that I gave her, yes ... obviously, there is a conflict of interest and all that kind of stuff," he said.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian during a press conference at NSW Parliament House on October 14, 2020 in Sydney, Australia.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has been forced to defend her integrity after details of her relationship with Mr Maguire became public knowledge. Source: AAP

But Mr Maguire told the inquiry he gave out the premier's private email address to a landowner from whom Mr Maguire hoped to earn a commission.

In phone recordings played to the inquiry on Friday, Mr Maguire told racing heir Louise Waterhouse to fan the premier's ego and not to "dob me in" as the person who provided the address.

"The fact is all that stuff is ICAC-able," he said.

He had breached the premier's privacy by sharing her email address and knew he was acting improperly, Mr Maguire admitted.

"You both seem to have shared a concern about this communication being disclosed because you referred to ICAC and Ms Waterhouse referred to the Freedom of Information legislation," head of the inquiry Ruth McColl said.

"Yes," Mr Maguire replied.

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