Fresh allegations … Ian Macdonald. Photo: Louie Douvis
Disgraced former NSW minister for energy Ian Macdonald is to face a new corruption inquiry into the granting of coal exploration licences.
“The Commission has been investigating allegations that corrupt conduct has occurred in connection with the granting of certain coalmining tenements in NSW,” the Independent Commission Against Inquiry said in a statement.
The Herald reported this week that Andrew Kaidbay, a friend and adviser to former minister Eddie Obeid and his family, who had no mining background and a $1 company, won a coal exploration licence in the Hunter Valley worth millions of dollars in a controversial tender run by then minister Mr Macdonald.
The Obeid family also received at least $10 million after they sold an option over their land to another of the successful bidders in this tender process.
Nine months before Mr Macdonald announced the invitation-only tender, the Obeids bought a farm in the Bylong Valley, near Mount Penny, for $3.65 million.
One of the exploration licences the commission has confirmed it is investigating relates to a licence at Doyle’s Creek.
In December 2008, Mr Macdonald granted this licence – without going to tender – to a company associated with John Maitland, the former general secretary of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union.
Mr Maitland paid $165,000 for his 11 per cent share in NuCoal Resources, which was later valued at $12million.
In a statement, the ICAC said because of the fresh allegations against the former minister, the commission was delaying announcing the findings of a previous corruption inquiry into Mr Macdonald.
Last year, the ICAC held a public hearing into allegations that businessmen Lucky Gattellari and Ronald Medich, who are facing murder charges, offered escort services in return for Mr Macdonald arranging meetings with state energy executives.
No date has been set for the new public inquiry.
Mr Macdonald resigned from NSW parliament in June 2010 following allegations that he made “errors” in his travel expenses relating to a 2008 trip to Italy and Dubai.