Dodgy ALP Ratbag cops one in the chook again

Eddie Obeid is the ratbag that just keeps on giving.

He is back before the Independent Commission against Corruption with three more investigations.

Former Labor parliamentarian Eddie Obeid and two former departmental chiefs will be adversely named during the Independent Commission Against Corruption’s three-pronged inquiry which began today.

In his opening address, counsel assisting, Ian Temby, QC, outlined the details of the corruption watchdog’s trio of fresh inquiries into Mr Obeid’s dealings.

Mr Temby said the inquiries spanned three departments – Treasury, the Department of Water and Energy, and NSW Maritime – four separate ministers, and a period of more than a decade.

Mr Temby, formerly the inaugural head of the ICAC, said the hearings involved “lobbying of an unusual kind” by an MP, in circumstances where his family’s interests were involved.

“It will be established that in some instances the fact that such family interests were being promoted was kept from those to whom representations were made,” he said.

Operation Cyrus, the first of the three inquiries, will investigate the circumstances in which two lucrative retail leases at Circular Quay were given to a company controlled by the Obeid family without a tender.

In October 2003 the company paid $2.4 million for the leases and businesses on them, the Sorrentino restaurant and Quay Eatery, along with the nearby Arc Cafe.

The inquiry heard Mr Obeid had lobbied a succession of NSW Labor waterways ministers, Carl Scully, Michael Costa, Eric Roozendaal and Joe Tripodi, without revealing his interest in the leases.

A NSW government plan to put the leases up for competitive tender was postponed by Mr Costa on August 1, 2005, days after then premier Bob Carr announced his intention to resign.

Two years later, when Mr Tripodi was waterways minister, the government’s commercial lease policy was changed to allow negotiation with existing tenants.

In January 2009, the Obeid-controlled company was given new five-year leases for the restaurant and cafe with an option to renew for five years. This occurred in the absence of any tender process.

“By that time the Obeid family had engaged business brokers to sell the businesses on the basis they had such extended lease entitlements,” Mr Temby said.

There are two other operations outlining the corrupt behaviour of officials and ratbags like Eddie Obeid.

Operation Meeka will investigate the former NSW Labor government’s dealings with Direct Health Solutions, a company wholly owned by an Obeid family company when it wrote to Mr Costa in August 23, 2005, seeking a meeting to promote its “unique [employee] absence management system”.

“The letter was handed to Mr Costa by Mr Obeid, and the meeting sought took place,” Mr Temby said.

Mr Costa is expected to tell the ICAC he was unaware of the Obeids’ interest in the company.

The inquiry heard a company controlled by an Obeid family associate, Rocco Triulcio, later took 55 per cent of the shares in Direct Health and the rest were sold to the company’s principal, Paul Dundon, and a business associate.

Mr Triulcio and and the Obeid family invested $450,000 in the company.

Operation Cabot, the last of the three inquiries, is investigating whether Mr Obeid lobbied bureaucrats in 2007 about lucrative water licences over his family’s rural property, Cherrydale Park.

The ICAC heard the man who sold the Obeids the property, former Packer adviser John Cherry, had given evidence in private that Mr Obeid had told him he had spoken to a friend who was the head of the Department of Water and Energy.

He claims Mr Obeid told the friend “just to look into it. I thought I could establish something now while I still had influence, water is going to get more difficult in the future.” Mr Temby said the water licence system was “far from impregnable to abuse as procedures were notably lax”.

 


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  • Dick Brown

    Yes, I saw this last night; white mans nepotism is just as prevalent as indigenous it seems.

  • AnonWgtn

    But is extended family, who have hidden most of the money, are in fact very rich by his actions.
    Big houses and cars etc etc.

    • Dave

      Anon. I have followed the Obeid story for years, Eddie was a factional power broker for Labour NSW (so they thought) where, Eddie was only ever in politics for himself. He ran the lebanese newspaper, and several other operations, always a lot of cash, folding stuff floating around. He had great influence in the community, could lobby local body politicians to get all manner of things approved, gentle persuasion, folding stuff persuasion, or kneecap persuasion. Suggest a google search of his life, enjoy. Unlike its namesake in NZ, the Sydney Morning Herald, actually have Investigative Journalists who have done some really good stories. Never happen at the NZ Herald.

  • Toryboy

    I realise Cam is quoting the Sydney Morning Herald story – but it should be noted that Michael Costa is very much an innocent party in all of this.
    As a Minister he got lobbied – as Ministers do – by all manner of people, about all manner of things, and of course he granted an appointment to one of his caucus colleagues when a meeting was sought.
    If Costa does, indeed, claim no knowledge that Obeid had an interest in this company he is telling the truth.

    • Dave

      Bullshit Tory Boy. Costa changed his mind several times, based on Obeid’s influence, and other things. Costa was once a great politician, he succumbed to Obeids Terrigal faction. He was not in it as deep as Obeid, but he is still involved.

      Wait thil they get hold of Tripodi, another ethnic who will rat and squeal, the Obeids and a few others have a lot to fear from Tripodi, he has a lot to lose, and he is in it up to his eyballs.

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