How Gladys Berejiklian confessed her deepest secret to staffers: ICAC

How Gladys Berejiklian confessed her deepest secret to staffers: ICAC
How Gladys Berejiklian confessed her deepest secret to staffers: ICAC

A series of Gladys Berejiklian's closest confidants have given evidence to a corruption inquiry about the moments the then-NSW Premier confessed her secret relationship with disgraced former MP Daryl Maguire to them.   

The Independent Commission Against Corruption hearing into the former NSW premier heard from Neil Harley that he spoke with Ms Berejiklian after she was summonsed to give evidence at a different ICAC investigation last year.

'It was a very difficult conversation for both of us,' he said, adding that the former premier is 'inherently a very private person'. 

'We didn't go into detail about when (the relationship with Mr Maguire) ... commenced and when it finished,' he said. 'We talked in broad terms about the nature of the relationship.' 

Another former chief of staff to Ms Berejiklian later told the ICAC that on Friday 13 July 2018 the then premier called her and told her 'she'd been close in the past with Mr Maguire'. 

Sarah Cruickshank said she thought the call was unusual as Mr Berejiklian was on leave at the time.

It was the day it was revealed that Mr Maguire was a person of interest to ICAC. 

Gladys Berejiklian (pictured) checks her phone while out for a walk in Sydney

Gladys Berejiklian (pictured) checks her phone while out for a walk in Sydney

Of the three senior former staffers who gave evidence on Tuesday, Ms Cruikshank was the only one who knew the pair had been in a relationship before October last year. 

ICAC counsel Scott Robertson asked if she was 'quite clear' in her mind that it was a historical relationship before Ms Berejiklian became premier? 

'Quite clear,' she replied.  

Mr Harley told the commission he subsequently discovered the relationship had 'continued on for a lot longer than I had anticipated' and 'it was more recent' than he thought.

Gladys's confidant and former chief of staff Neil Harley

Gladys's confidant and former chief of staff Neil Harley

He said if he had previously known about the relationship, he and others 'might have provided advice to her about how that situation could appropriately be managed'.

The ICAC also heard that in an email from August 20, 2018, Mr Harley said then premier Ms Berejiklian wanted to 'push' a plan to award millions of dollars in funding to the for a recital hall in the Riverina Conservatorium of Music in Wagga Wagga. 

Mr Maguire had quit politics a month earlier after giving evidence at an earlier ICAC inquiry, resulting in a by-election. 

The commission has heard the recital hall was one of the projects Mr Maguire had pushed hard for in the pursuit of funding.

Mr Harley said in the email to colleagues in Ms Berejiklian's office that 'I personally don't want to push this project but the premier did'.

Mr Maguire's testimony at a corruption hearing into former NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian has been delayed due to 'investigative reasons'.

The ICAC is, in part, investigating if Ms Berejiklian engaged in conduct 'liable to allow or encourage the occurrence of corrupt conduct' by former Liberal MP Daryl Maguire, with whom she was in a secret relationship at the time.

Gladys Berejiklian's former secret boyfriend Daryl Maguire was called 'a pain in the arse … (like) a dog with a bone,' in evidence given by former deputy premier John Barilaro to ICAC on Monday

Gladys Berejiklian's former secret boyfriend Daryl Maguire was called 'a pain in the arse … (like) a dog with a bone,' in evidence given by former deputy premier John Barilaro to ICAC on Monday

Sophie Callan, representing Ms Berejiklian said ICAC has taken evidence

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