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Operation Keppel Reports "Serious Corrupt Conduct" by Both Berejiklian and Maguire

Updated: Jul 18, 2023

Operation Keppel was an investigation conducted by the New South Wales Independent Commission Against Corruption originally focused on former-Liberal MP, Daryl Maguire. The investigation expanded to include former-NSW Premier, Gladys Berejikilian, after it was revealed that she and Mr. Maguire had a "close personal relationship."

After originally being delayed, the findings of the report were handed down on Thursday the 29th of June 2019. The NSW ICAC found both Ms. Berejiklian and Mr. Maguire had engaged in "serious corrupt conduct." At time of writing no charges have been recommended against Ms. Berejiklian or Mr. Maguire in relation to Operation Keppel, however the NSW ICAC is seeking advice from the Director of Public Prosecutions on whether or not to prosecute Mr. Maguire.

Operation Keppel was investigating whether Ms. Berejiklian had breached the public trust by "refusing to exercise her duty" to report matters which may concern corrupt conduct in relation to the actions of Mr. Maguire under New South Wales' anti-corruption laws.

The findings report that Ms. Berejiklian had "engaged in serious corrupt conduct by breaching public trust in 2016 and 2017” with regards to grants to the Australian Clay Target Association, located in Mr. Maguire's electorate. Ms. Berejiklian had not disclosed her personal relationship with Mr. Maguire at this time.

ICAC's findings stated that Ms. Berejikilian was “in a position of a conflict of interest between her public duty and her private interest, which could objectively have the potential to influence the performance of her public duty”.

ICAC also identified that Ms. Berejiklian had engaged in “serious corrupt conduct” by failing to notify ICAC of her suspicions that Mr. Maguire may have “engaged in activities which concerned, or might have concerned, corrupt conduct”:

"At the time Ms Berejiklian failed to report her suspicions to the Commission, she was the premier of the state. The report notes that Ms Berejiklian must have known that she was not entitled to refuse to exercise her official functions for her own private benefit, or for the benefit of Mr Maguire. To do so to conceal conduct she suspected concerned, or have might concerned, corrupt conduct on the part of Mr Maguire, another member of Parliament, both to protect herself and him from the Commission exercising its investigative powers was grave misconduct. It undermined the high standards of probity that are sought to be achieved by the ministerial code which, as premier, Ms Berejiklian substantially administered."

The report also found that between 2012 and 2018 Mr. Maguire had:

..."improperly used his office, and the resources to which he had access as a member of Parliament (MP), to benefit G8wayInternational Pty Ltd, a company of which he was in substance a director, and whose profits he had an arrangement to share with others.”

Mr. Maguire had also failed to disclose his personal interest and position within G8way International. Furthermore, as both an MP and chair of the NSW Parliament Asia Pacific Friendship Group, Mr. Maguire misused these positions to advance his own financial interests and the commercial interests of his associates.

The NSW ICAC Commissioner, Ruth McColl, was expected to release the investigation's findings in 2022, but these had been repeatedly delayed due to the complexity of evidence related to the case and "complex matters of law and fact."

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