Campbell Newman: Serious allegations at corruption inquiry
QUEENSLAND Premier Campbell Newman will have some questions to answer when he returns from an overseas trade mission after a Sydney corruption inquiry heard an offer to meet with Brisbane's former mayor once came with a $5000 price tag.
Giving evidence for the first time before the ICAC inquiry into the water company linked to disgraced NSW Labor powerbroker Eddie Obeid, Paul Nicolau recalled a time when he was asked to secure a $5000 "donation" in exchange for a meeting between Mr Newman and the company's chief executive Nick Di Girolamo.
The CEO of the Australian Hotel Association's NSW branch told the commission he was acting as a consultant for Australian Water Holdings when the person he was "liaising" within the Newman camp requested the sum.
The commission heard that an email to Mr Di Girolamo read "The Lord Mayor of Brisbane is happy to see you" but the donation needed be made "as soon as possible".
The cheque was to be made out to "Forward Brisbane Leadership".
Asked if he believed the $5000 was the "price of meeting Campbell Newman", Mr Nicolau replied "yes, if you look at it that way".
Queensland's Deputy Opposition Leader Tim Mulherin was quick to express his "concern" over the "very serious allegations"
Speaking at his Mackay electorate office, he told reporters Mr Newman needed to answer some "basic questions" and if necessary, should fly back to Australia to do so.
He also called on the State Government to confirm whether the allegations would be referred to Mr Newman's "hand-picked" Crime and Misconduct Commission chief.
Clive Palmer went a step further tweeting - "The @theqldpremier should resign over claims he demanded $5k for a meeting when Brisbane Lord Mayor".
When APN Newsdesk contacted the Premier's department for comment a spokesman said Mr Newman was not contactable because he was on his way to Korea.