Developer Country Garden Caught Up in Corruption Scandal

Calls for state Liberal MP for Wagga Wagga Daryl Maguire to resign have intensified after a recording of Maguire discussing kickbacks from the sale of a Sydney property to a Chinese developer surfaced.

Hong Kong-based property giant Country Garden Australia (CGA) is believed to be the developer liaising with Maguire about shovel-ready sites in Sydney.

Country Garden released a statement on Monday acknowledging the recent media coverage but denied any suggestion of misconduct.

The revelations come in the wake of a conversations between Darryl Maguire and then Canterbury City Councillor Michael Hawatt from May 2016.

The conversations were in relation to a $51 million development project on Canterbury Road, Canterbury which had been approved for 300 units.

The conversations were aired during an Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) inquiry in Sydney on Friday.

Soon after, Maguire announced he would stand down from his role as parliamentary secretary for counter terrorism, corrections, veterans and the Centenary of ANZAC.

Maguire told the ICAC he pursued Hawatt on behalf of Chinese "friends" who he was trying to help get established in Australia.

Related: Country Garden Australia Announces First Victorian Acquisition

MP Daryl Maguire is facing calls to quit Parliament after admitting before a corruption inquiry that he sought payment over a property deal.
Daryl Maguire

“If he’s going to give you 1.5 per cent that’s not enough,” Maguire told Hawatt during the taped 2016 conversation.

“1.5 per cent isn’t enough divided by two if you know what I’m talking about.”

He went on the say that 3 per cent commission was better.

“What I want … I just don’t want to f--- around,” Maguire told Hawatt.

“Have you got plans? Have you got the whole thing already done?”

“My client is mega big, OK.”

“If he’s interested my client is mega big and has got mega money and wants two or three DA approved projects right now. Today.”

New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian has added to the chorus of calls for Maguire's resignation, releasing a statement conveying her "deep disappointment."

"While it is for Mr Maguire alone to determine whether he stays on as the elected Member until next March, I would encourage him to think carefully as to whether he can effectively represent the people of Wagga Wagga from here on in."

Maguire denied he was connected to Country Garden but agreed he had "sought to assist" them in purchasing sites around Australia and had become "great friends" with CGA's chief executive.

He said his intention was to introduce property developers to Hawatt and share commissions from sales, but declared no commissions ever eventuated.

In a statement released by Country Garden Australia, the developer acknowledged the recent media coverage referencing a "former employee of the organisation."

“CGA takes any suggestion of misconduct or impropriety extremely seriously.”

“CGA will fully comply with and assist authorities with any enquiries into the matter, should this be required of the organisation.”

“The Country Garden Group has a ‘zero tolerance’ policy towards misconduct across its regional operations around the world.”

ICAC is investigating claims of improper conduct at the then Canterbury City Council, in particular, the actions of two councillors, Michael Hawatt and Pierre Azzi.

Country Garden has been bullish on Australia's house-and-land market, last year spending a record-breaking $400 million to acquire a 363-hectare site in Melbourne's west.

Earlier this month Country Garden said it had sold out the first stage of the master planned Windemere estate.

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