20 April, 2024
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Ex-NSW minister awaits corruption verdict


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Former NSW Labor politician Ian Macdonald and an ex-union boss now have an anxious wait ahead of them as a judge considers corruption charges brought against the pair.

On Wednesday, Justice Hament Dhanji thanked the parties for their help during the almost two-month long judge-alone trial and said he would try to hand down the verdict before Christmas.

“I’m hopeful that I will be in a position to deliver judgment before the end of term,” he said.

During openings in the NSW Supreme Court in September, prosecutor Philip Hogan said Macdonald had cost the state up to $100 million when he improperly granted a mining exploration licence to Doyles Creek Mining in 2008.

That company was chaired by Macdonald’s friend, former Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union national secretary John Maitland.

The crown case is that Macdonald worked with Maitland to inflate the significance of an “underground training mine” and downplay the large commercial interests of the site.

Macdonald, 73, who has pleaded not guilty to misconduct in public office, is accused of favouring the interests of the company by directly allocating the licence without inviting expressions of interest or a competitive tender.

Maitland, 76, has pleaded not guilty to being an accessory before the fact, after allegedly encouraging or assisting the then mineral resources minister in awarding the contract.

Barrister Ramesh Rajalingam told the court in September that Macdonald had showed no preferential treatment in awarding the contract.

Maitland, representing himself, flatly denied the allegations, saying that what they were doing was legitimate and of benefit to the state.

Both men dispute the characterisation of their relationship, with Maitland saying it was not “a close friendship”.

He is out on bail while Macdonald is in custody after being convicted alongside Eddie and Moses Obeid in a separate trial over a coal exploration licence in Bylong Valley which granted a $30 million windfall to their family.


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