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Berejiklian next to face grilling by ICAC

Twenty-eight days after a corruption inquiry forced her to resign as NSW premier, Gladys Berejiklian will get the opportunity to address the allegations against her.

Ms Berejiklian’s secret partner Daryl Maguire was the one originally under the microscope of the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption last year, for allegedly using his position as an MP to gain a financial benefit for himself.

But when she sensationally revealed their clandestine relationship, it sparked a separate investigation into her own conduct, which resulted in her resigning as premier on October 1.

ICAC is investigating how the relationship may have impacted the way Ms Berejiklian – as treasurer and then premier – dealt with projects the former Wagga Wagga MP lobbied for.

On Friday she will get her chance to answer the allegations against her, a day after Mr Maguire told the inquiry the pair loved each other, contemplated marriage and discussed having a child.

The former premier last year told ICAC the pair’s relationship was not of “sufficient status” to disclose to anyone.

She earlier on Thursday lost a bid to have ICAC hear details of the relationship in private.

“There is no public purpose served by plumbing the depths of the private life of my client,” her lawyer Sophie Callan SC argued.

“Doing so in public will inevitably lead to intense and irremediable publicity and public scrutiny along with humiliation and harm.”

Assistant Commissioner Ruth McColl denied the request, saying the matter was in the public interest.

Mr Maguire on Thursday conceded the relationship gave him greater access to Ms Berejiklian than other MPs, and in their private life he “encouraged” her to take a close interest in projects he was lobbying for.

He denied he ever explicitly asked his partner to intervene, but conceded he would sometimes communicate with her in the hope she would.

The public hearings have focused on two grants – a $5.5 million upgrade to the Wagga Wagga Clay Target Club, and a $20.5 million plan to build a recital hall for the Riverina Conservatorium of Music.

Ms Berejiklian denies any wrongdoing, but in a tearful press conference earlier this month said she had “no option” other than to resign.

“History will demonstrate that I have always executed my duties with the highest degree of integrity for the benefit of the people of NSW, who I have had the privilege to serve,” Ms Berejiklian told reporters.

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