Findings of corrupt conduct
The Commission makes a finding of serious corrupt conduct against Joseph Tripodi for, sometime prior to 16 February 2011, misusing his position as a member of Parliament to improperly provide an advantage to Buildev by providing to Darren Williams of that company a copy of the confidential 4 February 2011 NSW Treasury report, Review of Proposed Uses of Mayfield and Intertrade Lands at Newcastle Port.
Recommendations for prosecutions
The Commission must seek the advice of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) on whether any prosecution should be commenced. The DPP determines whether any criminal charges can be laid, and conducts all prosecutions. The Commission provides information on this website in relation to the status of prosecution recommendations and outcomes as advised by the DPP. The progress of matters is generally within the hands of the DPP. Accordingly, the Commission does not directly notify persons affected of advice received from the DPP or the progress of their matters generally.
The ICAC is of the opinion that the advice of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) should be obtained with respect to the prosecution of the following persons:
- Samantha Brooks for offences of giving false or misleading evidence contrary to section 87 of the Independent Commission Against Corruption Act 1988, namely that she received the Rex Newell painting known as Perrin’s Boat Shed for her birthday in 2010, and that Andrew Cornwell gave the Rex Newell painting known as Perrin’s Boat Shed to Hilton Grugeon as a Christmas gift in return for which Mr Grugeon paid her $10,120
- Andrew Cornwell for offences of giving false or misleading evidence contrary to section 87 of the ICAC Act 1988, namely that in December 2010 he gave the painting know as Perrin’s Boat Shed to Hilton Grugeon as a Christmas present, and that Mr Grugeon subsequently contacted him and offered to buy the painting from Samantha Brooks for the sum of $10,120
- Timothy Gunasinghe for the offence of giving false or misleading evidence contrary to section 87 of the ICAC Act, namely that on 16 December 2010 he made out a cheque to the Free Enterprise Foundation believing that the Free Enterprise Foundation was a political lobby group
- William Saddington for the offence of giving false or misleading evidence contrary to section 87 of the ICAC Act, namely that Joshua Hodges told Mr Saddington that he was establishing a consultancy firm, and that as a result of that conversation Mr Saddington gave Mr Hodges $4000 for the purpose of promoting Mr Hodges’ consultancy firm
- Timothy Koelma for offences of giving false or misleading evidence contrary to section 87 of the ICAC Act, namely that he provided a service to Matthew Lusted of LA Commercial Pty Ltd in return for the payment of $5000, that he provided a service to Iwan Sunito of Crown Consortium Pty Ltd in return for the payment of $2,200, and that he provided advice to Eric Stammer and Scott Johnson of Yeramba Estates Pty Ltd in return for the payment of $5000
- Christopher Hartcher for the offence of larceny, with respect to $4000 withdrawn from the accounts of the company known as Mickey Tech, those funds being intended as a donation to the NSW Liberal Party
- Joseph Tripodi for the offence of misconduct in public office, with respect to the provision of a confidential Treasury report to representatives of the private corporation Buildev Group Pty Ltd, without lawful authority to do so.
Briefs of evidence were provided to the DPP on 20 February 2017.
On 5 December 2017, the DPP advised that there was insufficient evidence to prosecute Samantha Brooks. The Commission has accepted that advice.
On 23 October 2018, the DPP advised that there was insufficient
evidence to prosecute Andrew Cornwell or Timothy Gunasinghe. The Commission has accepted that
The Commission is awaiting the DPP's decision on whether proceedings will be taken in relation to the other persons referred to above.
Recommendations for disciplinary action
There are no recommendations for disciplinary action in this report.
Recommendations for corruption prevention
The Commission’s investigation uncovered conduct indicative of significant failures to comply with election funding laws concerning the disclosure of political donations, the prohibition on property developers making political donations and the caps placed on political donations.
At the time of the investigation, NSW had some of the most restrictive political donation and election expenditure rules of any jurisdiction, but those rules by themselves were demonstrated by the investigation as insufficient to make regulation effective. If the framework of enforcement, scrutiny by civil society, incentives and penalties does not support compliance with the rules, then rules alone will be ineffective.
Some of the weaknesses in the system uncovered by the investigation were remedied by the Election Funding, Expenditure and Disclosures Amendment Act 2014. This Act amended the Election Funding, Expenditure and Disclosures Act 1981 by increasing maximum penalties for summary offences relating to political donations and electoral expenditure. The limitation period for commencing proceedings for summary offences was also increased. Importantly, limits on political donations have meant that third-party campaigners and branches of political parties operating in other jurisdictions are no longer an effective conduit for circumventing NSW donation laws. In addition, a new separate indictable offence was created relating to schemes to circumvent the donation or expenditure prohibitions or restrictions. For serious matters, a member of Parliament may now, if convicted, lose their seat.
Despite these welcome changes, there remained flaws in the regulatory framework which, in the Commission’s opinion, continued to fall short of an effective system.
In December 2014, the Commission published its report, Election funding, expenditure and disclosure in NSW: Strengthening accountability and transparency. In that report, the Commission made 22 recommendations affecting electoral funding, disclosure, election expenditure and political party registration operations at both the macro and micro levels in the context of NSW state elections. The report was distributed to NSW Parliament as well as the Political Donations Panel of Experts, a panel of specialists assembled by the NSW Government to assess potential reforms to election funding laws, led by Dr Kerry Schott.
After the Commission’s report was released, the Political Donations Panel of Experts released their final report to the governor and premier. The report contained a set of 50 recommendations for reform to NSW election laws, traversing a range of issues, including restrictions on political donations and expenditure, public funding, party governance, regulation of third-party campaigners, disclosure requirements and enforcement. The 50 recommendations provided by the expert panel aligned closely with the recommendations submitted in the Commission’s December 2014 report.
As there are common elements to this investigation and Operation Credo,
the evidence taken in each operation is taken as evidence in both
View all transcripts associated with this investigation. The Commission makes every effort to post the daily transcripts of its public inquiries on its website by 8:00 pm each day when possible. If the Commission sits later than 4:00 pm, the daily transcripts, particularly the afternoon session, may not be available until the next working day.
As there are common elements to this investigation and Operation
Credo, the evidence taken in each operation is taken as evidence in both
As there were common elements to this investigation and Operation Credo, the evidence taken in each operation was taken as evidence in both operations.
Download exhibits associated with these investigations below.