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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Anna Bligh bans Gordon Nuttall betrayer Brendan McKennariey ...

The Australian:

Nuttall's betrayer banned by Bligh

10 September 2009

The Labor-linked company director who allegedly bribed former Queensland minister Gordon Nuttall has been banned from doing business with the Bligh government.

Brendan McKennariey, the star witness in corruption charges against the former Labor MP, was told yesterday he was no longer welcome to tender for Queensland government contracts.

The move comes after revelations in The Australian yesterday that Mr McKennariey's company, GBG Project Management Services, has just been awarded a $430,000 contract as part of the upgrade of the Lotus Glen Correctional Facility in Cairns.

In the Brisbane Magistrates Court yesterday, Mr McKennariey was named as the source of a string of alleged corrupt payments to Mr Nuttall while GBG was doing work for the government.

Mr McKennariey, a former ALP member and long-time friend of Mr Nuttall, has not been charged and GBG's recent taxpayer-funded work was awarded, without a tender process, through a subcontractor on the prison upgrade.

Public Works Minister Robert Schwarten - who once cancelled a contract with one of Mr McKennariey's companies, leading to a successful lawsuit against the government - yesterday said he was not welcome to do business with the government.

"It is well known that I got rid of Mr McKennariey in 1999 over concerns with another contract and it is fair to say he is not welcome to tender with the government and he is not on any of our pre-qualification lists," Mr Schwarten said.

"The decision to award the sub/sub-contract to GBG was made independent of the Bligh government."

State Opposition Leader John-Paul Langbroek said the latest revelations should put further pressure on Premier Anna Bligh to launch a royal commission.

"Without a royal commission, there is no way of knowing what business transactions this government is entering into are above board and which are dodgy," he said.

During the brief mention in Brisbane, Mr Nuttall, 56, - who was barefoot and wearing a suit - gestured to his family sitting in the court's public gallery, touching his hand to his heart.

According to the bench charge sheet tendered to the court, Mr Nuttall is facing 15 charges: five of official corruption, five of receiving or soliciting secret commissions and five of perjury. Police allege that while Mr Nuttall was serving as industrial relations minister and then health minister in the Beattie government, he corruptly received sums of money from Mr McKennariey - and then lied about it at a secret CMC hearing.

It is alleged Mr Nuttall received at least four payments from Mr McKennariey between December 2001 and July 2005, the largest being $10,000.

Police allege that on December 10, 2001 - when Mr Nuttall was IR minister - he corruptly received $10,000 from Mr McKennariey. The next payment allegedly was made on Christmas Eve in that year, when Mr Nuttall received $1200 from the businessman.

On December 29, 2004, when Mr Nuttall was health minister, he allegedly received $4000 from Mr McKennariey. In July the following year, there was allegedly another payment of $2000.

Police also allege there was at least one other payment - of an undisclosed amount - in 2005, in which Mr Nuttall asked Mr McKennariey for money.

The perjury charges relate to a secret CMC hearing shortly after Mr Nuttall retired from politics in September 2006. Police allege he knowingly gave "false testimony" to the CMC hearing relating to five separate matters.

They allege he said he did not know that "Simon David McNeillage engaged Brendan John McKennariey and Graham Michael Doyle to deliver training under a contract with the Department of Industrial Relations".

Police say Mr Nuttall told the CMC he had not discussed Mr McKennariey's business dealings with him. He also allegedly told the CMC he was not aware of any involvement of GBG and Mr McKennariey in wastewater issues. A fifth perjury charge relates to Mr Nuttall's alleged false testimony to the CMC that he "did not receive payments of funds by other benefactors other than Ken Talbot".

A committal mention was set down for October 5, with the view to the committal hearing being held in January. Outside court, Mr Nuttall's solicitor Neil Richardson said his client would plead not guilty to all counts and Mr Nuttall was "very confident" he could beat all the charges.

See - The Australian - Nuttall's betrayer banned by Bligh.

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