Called in to give evidence at the ICAC hearing … Nathan Rees. Photo: Nick MoirA CORRUPTION inquiry beginning next month into the previous Labor state government is gathering pace, with the former premier Nathan Rees the latest high-profile witness to be called.
The Herald has confirmed Mr Rees will be called to give evidence at the Independent Commission Against Corruption as it unpicks a series of allegedly corrupt coal licence deals involving two former mining ministers – Eddie Obeid and Ian Macdonald.
There are no allegations against Mr Rees, just as there are not believed to be any levelled against another former Labor premier, Morris Iemma, who has been formally named as a witness to the inquiry.
After Mr Rees as premier sacked Mr Macdonald from cabinet, the now-disgraced former minister and Mr Obeid were among those who organised the numbers to have Mr Rees replaced by Kristina Keneally.
Channel Seven last night reported that she too will be called to give evidence, though, again, not as a person of interest to the inquiry.
The anti-graft watchdog is also examining why Mr Obeid’s son Moses Obeid provided the state’s former treasurer Eric Roozendaal with a Honda CRV in mid 2007. At the time, he was the minister for roads.
But the main focus of the inquiry is a series of coal exploration licences issued by Mr Macdonald’s department in 2008.
One of these licences went without tender to a company associated with his friend John Maitland. Another was issued for a tenement directly below a farm which Mr Obeid’s family had bought. Another was awarded to a $1 company run by a long-standing associate of the Obeids, Andrew Kaidbay.
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