Disgraced Wagga Wagga MP Daryl Maguire will face court this week after being charged with giving false and misleading evidence to the Independent Commission Against Corruption’s (ICAC’s) Operation Dasha.
The charges relate to his appearance at the 2018 ICAC investigation into the former Canterbury City Council and come in the same week that the anti-corruption watchdog will release the findings of its investigation into his relationship with former premier Gladys Berejiklian.
ICAC confirmed that the 64-year-old was charged on 2 June with one count of giving false and misleading evidence during testimony given during Operation Dasha, which examined whether councillors had dealt dishonestly with planning proposals and applications.
While giving evidence, Maguire had said that he had no involvement with former councillor Michael Hawatt and denied having sought payment for brokering a deal on behalf of a Chinese property developer.
However, his testimony was undermined by recordings of phone conversations and he was forced to admit to his role in the $48 million project and seeking a commission if it went ahead.
Maguire quit the Liberal Party following the revelations, and a by-election was triggered in Wagga Wagga, the seat that he had held since 1999.
A report released by ICAC in March 2021 recommended Maguire face criminal charges.
The telephone calls intercepted during Operation Dasha resulted in a separate inquiry into his conduct, named Operation Keppel, which focused on whether he had breached public trust by using his office to improperly gain benefits for himself and others.
In October 2020, Maguire admitted to misusing his position for financial gain and the same investigation revealed his five-year “close personal relationship” with then-Premier Berejiklian.
Further recordings captured Maguire lobbying the Premier for funding for several projects in his electorate and Berejiklian was forced to step down as Premier for alleged breaches of the Ministerial Code of Conduct, including failing to declare the relationship to avoid a conflict of interest.
In November 2022, Maguire was charged with criminal conspiracy over an alleged cash-for-visas scheme and he appeared in a Sydney court in February 2023.
He is yet to enter a plea and will face Sydney’s Downing Court on Tuesday (27 June).
ICAC will release its findings from Operation Keppel on Thursday (29 June).