Mining heavyweight tries to shut down ICAC inquiry

Mining magnate Travers Duncan has launched legal action aimed at shutting down the Independent Commission Against Corruption inquiry in which negative evidence was given about himself.

Duncan, one of Australia’s richest men, has launched action in the NSW Supreme Court which seeks to shut down the inquiry and stop the commissioner from making any findings, SMH reported.

Duncan is accusing Commissioner David Ipp of bias, with both himself and the commission listed as defendants in the claim.

For months, ICAC has heard evidence that former Labor powerbroker Eddie Obeid used inside information from then resources minister Ian Macdonald in an elaborate scheme to net massive profits.

Duncan was one of seven wealthy business men whose company Cascade Coal is alleged to have won a rigged government coal tender for Mount Penny in the Bylong Valley which covered several properties owned by the Obeids and their associates.

Commissioner Ipp has described letters from Duncan’s lawyers as ''impertinent'' and ''inappropriate.''

Last month Duncan tried to prevent Ipp from responding to a request by Premier Barry O’Farell seeking advice on how to approach the coal exploration licences.

"In my view, it is urgent that advice should be given to the Government by the Commission in regard to ensuring that the Government has powers to take into [consideration] all matters of public interest in deciding what to do about the tenement," Ipp said at the time.

After receiving Ipp’s letter, O’Farrell announced action would be taken to stop the Mt Penny mine going ahead.

O’Farrell announced that cabinet had decided the development application for Mt Penny would now involve a broader “public interest test” which would look at the allegations of corrupt conduct before the ICAC,

Should Duncan be successful is suppressing information found in the inquiry, it may have to be started again.

An expedited hearing date has been set for March 22.

Image: businesstoday.com

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