Former NSW Police Minister Mike Gallacher said he “no longer has faith in our justice system” after ICAC ignored his evidence and found he had intended to evade electoral laws to funnel illegal property developer donations into the Liberal Party.
In an exclusive interview with The Australian, Mr Gallacher said he read the Operation Spicer report this morning in “disbelief.”
“I am innocent and I know I am innocent and I’m not going away,” he said.
“I am looking at this in total disbelief. I used to have faith in our justice system but there is no justice in this.
Mr Gallacher said the Operation Spicer showed that once ICAC had decided to mount a case against an individual, it did not matter what evidence they were presented with — the Commission would ignore it.
“We put in incredibly detailed submissions addressing ICAC’s claims. We might as well have not wasted our time,” he said
Mr Gallacher said the report “sends a message to anyone in the future that once you’re named (by ICAC), it really doesn’t matter whether you turn up to ICAC. Once they’ve made their mind up, it’s all over.”
The former policeman, who spent a large part of his career working in the undercover unit exposing corrupt police officers, has been determined to return to Premier Mike Baird’s frontbench, ideally in his former role of police minister which he resigned from when ICAC first aired allegations against him in May, 2014.
This path will be more difficult now that ICAC’s report claims his evidence during the public inquiries was “untruthful” and that he was a party to plans to funnel illegal property developer donations into the Liberal Party.
“My character assassination, in political terms, is of course very damaging and I’ve got no way of appealing it,” Mr Gallacher said.
“I gave absolute honest evidence in September 2014 about events in 2010 and early 2011 and to be called untruthful, I am disappointed to say the least in this process.
“The gravely disappointing aspect of this report is that I have no means available to me to appeal their observations.”
ICAC counsel assisting Geoffrey Watson accused Mr Gallacher of “hatching a corrupt plan” to funnel unlawful donations from property developers into the state Liberal party.
Mr Gallacher said ICAC does not have a shred of evidence to support its claims at the public inquiry or in its report released today.
But the Commission needed to “justify” having made false claims against him during its public inquiries, he said.
“The key to it is the fact that I haven’t been recommended for any charges. This is just a case, I believe, of trying to justify the false claims that were made about me being corrupt in 2014 and I have no ability to appeal it and clear my name,” he said.
Mr Gallacher said instead of believing his evidence, they relied on the evidence of one witness who gave testimony in private after cutting a deal with the Commission.
“The ICAC have preferred to believe the evidence of one witness who clearly had reached an agreement with them to give evidence but when we asked what were the terms of that agreement, we were denied any information,” he said.
“I literally cannot believe that in 2016 we have a system that simply fails to recognise that people do come there to tell the truth but they prefer to believe the words of others.”
Ultimately, despite having his reputation smeared, Mr Gallacher said ICAC had cleared him of corruption charges.
“This report shows that I am not corrupt, I have not been referred to the DPP for any criminal charges, nor have I been referred or recommended to the Electoral Commission for breaches of the electoral funding act so despite all of the claims, starting on the 2nd May 2014, that I was in a corrupt, longstanding relationship with developers, that I was the mastermind, the kingpin behind these corrupt schemes, I have been shown in this report to be innocent of those claims.”
Asked about the accusation that his evidence was untruthful, Mr Gallacher said the only thing ICAC had to support its claim was that he did not know the first name of Buildev director David Sharpe, who he called Sharpey.
He said ICAC also claimed his New Year’s Eve function was designed to take money from developers — but, he said, none of the money went to the Liberal Party.
“They are drawing conclusions and they don’t even spell out how,” he said.
“They say I am party to it. How am I party to it? The road that I’m travelling on is not going to be an easy one but I have no intentions of going away.”
ICAC’s Operation Spicer report stated that Mr Gallacher acted with the intention of evading election funding laws relating to a ban on property developer donations.
ICAC’s report stated that Mr Gallacher, along with former Energy and Resources Minister Chris Hartcher, and others, “were parties to an arrangement whereby, between July 2010 and March 2011, Patinack Farm made payments totalling $66,000” to the EightbyFive slush fund.
“These payments were ostensibly for the provision of services by Eightbyfive to Patinack Farm but were in fact political donations to help fund the NSW Liberal Party 2011 Central Coast election campaign,” it states.
The report says that Mr Gallacher sought a political donation from Mr Sharpe by inviting him to attend a New Year’s Eve political fundraising function.
“Mr Gallacher knew that they were property developers, and he sought the political donation with the intention of evading the election funding laws relating to the ban on peroty developers making political donations,” it states.
ICAC also found that Mr Gallacher and Mr Hartcher were involved in an arrangement whereby two political donations totalling $53,000 from Buildev were provided to the NSW Liberal Party for use in its 2011 election campaigns for the seats of Newcastle and Londonderry.
By Sharri Markson- Senior Writer, The Australian- 3oth August 2016.
(WTF) used with permission.