MEDIA ALERT: Public inquiry into allegations concerning soliciting, receiving and concealing payments (Operation Spicer) starts Monday

Thursday 24 April 2014

The NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC)'s public inquiry into allegations that certain members of parliament and others corruptly solicited, received and concealed payments from various sources in return for certain members of parliament and others favouring the interests of those responsible for the payments (Operation Spicer) will commence next Monday 28 April 2014 at 11:00 am.

Operation Spicer will examine whether, between April 2009 and April 2012, certain members of parliament including Christopher Hartcher, Darren Webber and Christopher Spence, along with others including Timothy Koelma and Raymond Carter, corruptly solicited, received, and concealed payments from various sources in return for certain members of parliament favouring the interests of those responsible for the payments.

The Commission is also examining whether, between December 2010 and November 2011, certain members of parliament, including those mentioned above, and others, including Raymond Carter, solicited, received and failed to disclose political donations from companies, including prohibited donors, contrary to the Election Funding, Expenditure and Disclosures Act 1981.

Further allegations include whether Eightbyfive, a business operated by Mr Koelma entered into agreements with each of a series of entities including Australian Water Holdings Pty Ltd (AWH), whereby each entity made regular payments to Eightbyfive, purportedly for the provision of media, public relations and other services and advice, in return for which Mr Hartcher favoured the interests of the respective entity.

The ICAC is also investigating the circumstances in which false allegations of corruption were made against senior SWC executives (see also the Commission's Operation Credo public inquiry).

The ICAC Commissioner, the Hon Megan Latham, will preside at the public inquiry, which has been set down for three- to four weeks. Counsel Assisting the Commission will be Mr Geoffrey Watson SC and Mr Greg O'Mahoney. A short media briefing will be held from 10:30 am on 28 April on procedural and logistical matters. Proceedings on Tuesday 29 April will commence at 10.30 am. A witness list for the first week of the public inquiry is attached. Please note that this list is subject to change.

Time:                         10:30 am (short media briefing),
                                  11:00 am (public inquiry commences)

Date:                         Monday 28 April 2014

Location:                   ICAC Hearing Room

                                 Level 7, 133 Castlereagh Street, Sydney

Media contact: ICAC Manager Communications and Media, Nicole Thomas, 02 8281 57399 / 0417 467 801