ICAC puts key reports on hold

The NSW corruption watchdog says it will not be able to complete its politically-charged reports into Operations Credo and Spicer following top prosecutor Margaret Cunneen’s successful appeal.


Earlier on Friday, the NSW Court of Appeal found the ICAC did not have the power to investigate Ms Cunneen over allegations she perverted the course of justice.

“The Commission is seeking special leave in the High Court of Australia as a matter of urgency,” ICAC said in a statement.

“Until the proceedings are resolved, the Commission will not complete the reports in Operations Credo and Spicer.”

Operation Credo examined the Obeid-linked Australian Water Holdings while Operation Spicer’s investigations uncovered the NSW Liberal Party donations scandal.

“The majority decision in Cunneen v ICAC [2014] NSWCA 421 fundamentally alters the basis of the Commission’s powers with respect to significant parts of Operations Credo and Spicer,” ICAC said.

Both reports were due to be handed down in January, just two months before the NSW election.

The ICAC probes have so far claimed high-profile Liberal scalps, including NSW premier Barry O’Farrell and federal assistant treasurer Arthur Sinodinos.

They have led to eight NSW Liberal MPs being shunted to the cross benches and resulted in two members, Tim Owen and Andrew Cornwell, quitting politics.

The expected release of the reports on Credo and Spicer just two months out from the NSW poll had been viewed as a potential hazard for the popular Baird government.

The election will be held on March 28.