Saturday, 6 August 2011

Labor Government Being Investigated by Corruption Commission Over $12.2 Million Pittwater Sale, Sydney

Written by Marc Pallisco    Wednesday, 06 July 2011 00:00

THE INDEPENDENT Commission Against Corruption was told a former NSW Labor government executive rushed to approve the $12.2 million purchase of waterfront land to avoid risk of a deal falling through.

Under caretaker conventions that were in place at the time, the government was not meant to be executing contracts. The investigation – for the Currawong site at Pittwater – is for a transaction recorded on March 15 from developer Eco Villages.

According to the AFR which reports the investigation, Warwick Watkins, chief executive of the Land and Property Management Authority (LPMA) pushed to rush the sale through because the seller of the land was involved in a controversial development application.

Principal legal officer of Crown land Andrew Simpson told the hearing he was informed of the impending purchase decision on the Friday before the transaction took place

“On the morning of Monday March 14, the day before the transaction, Mr Watkins claimed the exchange had to be completed by the close of business the next day,” it was reported.

“It was very firmly put to us it needed to be done by then,” Mr Simpson told the corruption inquiry.

He added Mr Watkins had been in contact with Eco Villages chief executive Allen Linz. The hearing which started last week, continues.