Gladys lover’s secret code word revealed

 

Gladys Berejiklian's former partner told a corruption inquiry he used a secret code word to set up a meeting between a property developer and a minister's staffer.

Ex-MP Daryl Maguire told the Independent Commission Against Corruption he used the code "We're having a glass of red" to communicate to Rob Vellar, chief of staff to then-planning minister Anthony Roberts, that a certain property developer had arrived to Mr Maguire's parliamentary office for a chat.

The suggestion the minister's aide knew in advance the purpose of the meeting appeared to contradict Mr Vellar's previous statement to ICAC and seemed to take counsel assisting the inquiry Scott Robertson by surprise.

Daryl Maguire told ICAC he used a secret code to communicate with a minister’s staffer. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Bianca De Marchi
Daryl Maguire told ICAC he used a secret code to communicate with a minister’s staffer. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Bianca De Marchi

"Was that an out-of-the-blue suggestion for Mr Vellar to come and meet you, or are you saying there was some previous arrangement to meet Mr Vellar?" Mr Robertson asked.

"There was previous arrangements," Mr Maguire replied.

"I'd discussed with Mr Vellar at least on three or four occasions, and the code was, 'We're having a glass of red.' And that was …"

Mr Robertson interrupted: "What do you mean, the code?"

Former planning minister's chief of staff Rob Vellar has previously testified before ICAC. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Bianca De Marchi
Former planning minister's chief of staff Rob Vellar has previously testified before ICAC. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Bianca De Marchi

Mr Maguire: "The code, the message, 'Come down to my office'. That's my recollection."

Mr Robertson: "But a code suggesting what? What's it a code for?"

Mr Maguire: "Well, to tell him that Mr Alha had arrived and come down to have a red and a chat."

Mr Alha referred to property developer Joe Alha, who has also previously given evidence in front of ICAC.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s ex-lover Daryl Maguire made some startling revelations on Wednesday. Picture: Jeremy Piper
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s ex-lover Daryl Maguire made some startling revelations on Wednesday. Picture: Jeremy Piper

When Mr Vellar fronted ICAC last Friday, he was asked about a text message from Mr Maguire containing the phrase "Want to join me for a red?"

Mr Vellar told the inquiry he agreed to come to Mr Maguire's office because he "thought he may have had a complaint about some of the service that had been provided to him by one of our staff, or perhaps even a matter involving the Legislative Assembly."

In Mr Vellar's telling, he felt "ambushed" when he entered the office to find another, unknown man there with a plastic model of a building.

Property developer Joe Alha has previously given evidence to ICAC.
Property developer Joe Alha has previously given evidence to ICAC.

 

Mr Maguire, on the other hand, told ICAC he had previous discussions with Mr Vellar about the meeting.

"It was brought up in the discussions that I had three or four times with Mr Vellar before, and it was mentioned we were having a red so that was what I sent. He understood that Mr Alha would be there," he said.

Mr Maguire will again face the inquiry on Thursday for a second day of questioning.

Originally published as Gladys lover's secret code word revealed


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