A NSW government staffer didn’t reveal she was storing former Liberal MP Daryl Maguire’s parliamentary computer hard drive because it may have contained information that could implicate him.
Government whip secretary Rebecca Cartwright on Wednesday told the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption hearing that she has been storing the hard drive in her Parliament House office since 2018.
The inquiry is investigating whether Mr Maguire breached public trust by using his public office and parliamentary resources to improperly gain a benefit for himself or for G8way International – a company he “effectively controlled”.
Ms Cartwright told the inquiry she received an email from the Parliament House IT department saying the hard drive would be given to her after Mr Maguire’s evidence at a separate ICAC inquiry led to his resignation in 2018.
She asked Mr Maguire how he wanted the hard drive sent to him, to which he said words to the effect of “well, it gets lost in the post, so just post it”, the inquiry heard.
The ICAC first became aware of the hard drive on Wednesday morning when Ms Cartwright revealed she had it in her parliament house office.
She was then escorted to parliament house by ICAC officers to collect it.
Counsel assisting the commission Scott Robertson asked Ms Cartwright if the former Wagga Wagga MP had made it clear to her that he didn’t want the hard drive to “see the light of day”.
“He didn’t want it posted to him. He didn’t say destroy it. He didn’t say get rid of it. He said it gets lost in the post. He didn’t want it,” Ms Cartwright said.
When asked if Mr Maguire didn’t want the hard drive to be seen by the ICAC or any other agency which might investigate him, Ms Cartwright said: “I agree he didn’t want anyone to see it.”
Mr Robertson later asked if she had been deliberately storing the hard drive away from the commission because the material on it could implicate Mr Maguire.
Ms Cartwright said in response: “Correct.”
She also admitted to the inquiry that she knew what Mr Maguire had asked her to do was wrong.
Assistant Commissioner Ruth McColl SC then asked Ms Cartwright if she was complying with Mr Maguire’s request to ensure the hard drive was not disclosed to the world.
She again replied “correct”.
The inquiry, which started on Monday and is expected to run for four weeks, will investigate whether Mr Maguire’s activities amount to the criminal offence of misconduct in public office.
The former NSW member for Wagga Wagga sat in parliament for 19 years before his resignation in 2018, after a separate ICAC inquiry heard he sought payment to help broker deals for some property developers.
The inquiry continues on Thursday.