Disgraced former Wagga MP Daryl Maguire has hit back at findings that he engaged in “serious corrupt conduct” just days after the release of the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) Operation Keppel report.
A statement released by lawyer Jim Harrowell on behalf of his client argued that Maguire had “worked tirelessly for his constituents” and lashed out at the media for “serious invasions of privacy”.
It seems that the statement will also be his final word on the matter, concluding that “Daryl Maguire will make no further comment nor debate the ICAC report with media or give interviews”.
Operation Keppel focused on allegations that the former Wagga MP had breached public trust between 2012 and 2018 and used his role in parliament to benefit himself.
Over 700 pages, the report detailed a string of questionable business dealings with developers and Chinese business interests and examined grants awarded to the electorate during his undeclared relationship with Gladys Berejiklian while she was the NSW Treasurer and then Premier.
The two-page statement released on Monday by Hunt and Hunt Lawyers confirms that they are trawling through the “long-delayed report into Operation Keppel, delivered 5 years after Daryl Maguire gave evidence as a witness in Operation Dasha 13 July 2018,” and lays out Maguire’s list of achievements as the Member for Wagga from 1999 to 2018.
“Indeed, he was described in evidence as a dog with a bone, a vociferous advocate for the electorate, or a pain in the arse when it came to getting improvements for the Wagga Electorate,” the statement reads, before defending the legitimacy of grants delivered for the National ACTA headquarters, the Riverina Conservatorium of Music and the Wagga and Tumut hospitals.
“Daryl Maguire’s efforts, tenacity and sheer dogged determination fighting for funding and the very best planning outcomes for these communities resulted in the major upgrades you see today. Again, his support was entirely without any expectation of any personal benefit.”
It goes on to recall the ways he had worked with the community to improve the region.
“Indeed, at the opening of Wagga Base Hospital Maguire said when quoting Christopher Wren, ‘reader, if it’s his monument you seek, look around you’, and in typical Maguire style he said, ‘No one person can claim this as his or her achievement, but together all of you played a part in this and can claim we did this together’,” the statement declares.
“Daryl Maguire is proud of his many achievements serving the electorate of Wagga and NSW and strongly denies all allegations referring to the projects above.”
The tone then shifts to focus on the “Media.!!!” and claims that Maguire, his family and associates have been subjected to invasions of privacy on his 15-hectare North Wagga property where he maintains an agistment business, looking after horses.
The letter also claims that “young women going about their daily routine” have been stalked and intimidated.
“There have been three traffic near collisions caused by media doing unsafe u-turns in front of oncoming cars, parking unsafely, speeding, and following young women to their work at 5 am on at least two occasions,” the statement alleges, adding that drones have been flying above Maguire’s property “contrary to regulations, which in turn spooked the valuable horses”.
“We ask in all reasonableness, that you desist from your appalling behaviour towards these people and your unsafe reckless activities.”
Maguire may now face criminal charges after ICAC referred its findings of corrupt conduct to the NSW Director of Public Prosecutions.
Last month, Maguire was also charged with giving false or misleading evidence at an ICAC inquiry in 2018 and is yet to enter a plea.
You can read the full response from Maguire’s lawyers here.