Charged: Labor powerbroker Eddie Obeid has been charged with conspiracy over a $30 million coal deal at Mount Penny in the Bylong Valley between Denman and Mudgee. In June he was convicted of misconduct in office.“PEOPLE thought this day would never come,” said Bylong Valley resident Craig Shaw on news that corrupt former Labor powerbroker Eddie Obeid had been charged over a $30 million coal deal.
“I’m pleased to see it’s happened. The people of NSW are entitled to have this tested in court, and Obeid can have his day in court.”
Conspiracy charges against Obeid, son Moses and a third person who cannot be identified follow explosive Independent Commission Against Corruption hearings in 2012 into how the Mount Penny coal tenement was created on top of the Obeid family’s Bylong Valley property, while Obeid was in office.
Mr Shaw said the charges, after Obeid was convicted in June of misconduct in office over his Circular Quay business dealings, vindicated ICAC after a period of controversy, although he believed the controversy was confined to a minority group.
“If it wasn’t for ICAC we wouldn’t be in this situation. This would not have been exposed. The thought that something as serious as this appears to be would never have seen the light of day just chills me,” Mr Shaw said.
“I don’t think there’s been any controversy about ICAC as far as the majority of people in this state feel. In this case ICAC was the only place left where people were going to listen to what was happening at Mount Penny.
“Thank heavens for ICAC, as far as I’m concerned.”
The 2012 Mount Penny ICAC inquiry famously revealed “corruption on a scale probably unexceeded since the days of the Rum Corps”.
In January 2014 NSW Parliament legislated the formal end of the corruptedDoyles Creek, Mount Penny and Glendon Brook mine projects.
Mr Shaw and three others who fought the corrupted mine proposals, Robyn and Ian Moore and Craig Chapman, were in Parliament to see it happen and felt “vindicationthat you can stir things up and achieve an outcome”.
‘‘The gallery should have been full of the people of NSW fighting corruption, and not just the four dudes who kicked it off and who don’t get a direct benefit,” Mr Shaw said in 2014.
The investigations that uncovered the corrupted mine processes, the corrupted political donations processes and the corrupted Circular Quay leaseprocesses made the case for an ICAC-style commission to deal with federal issues, he said.
“These questions about integrity in public office remain, and they don’t stop with NSW,” he said.
A committal hearing into the conspiracy charges against Eddie and Moses Obeid is set down for August 29. On August 12 a judge will consider sentencing optionsfor Obeid over the Circular Quay conviction.