Liberal powerbroker Arthur Sinodinos’s $200,000 salary with an allegedly corrupt water company did seem excessive, says one of the firm’s managers.
Federal Assistant Treasurer Sinodinos worked as an Australian Water Holdings (AWH) director from 2008, with an alleged remit to open doors to senior Liberal identities and help the company secure business deals.
The then NSW Liberal Party Treasurer stood to gain a bonus and cash payments worth up to $20 million if an infrastructure deal with the then Labor NSW government was successful, the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) heard on Wednesday.
AWH paid Senator Sinodinos $200,000 for 100 hours of work per year, according to ICAC evidence.
Asked if that seemed like a lot, AWH senior manager William MacGregor-Fraser replied: “Yes, it does a little bit.”
Mr MacGregor-Fraser said Senator Sinodinos was employed despite having no experience in water infrastructure.
He denied Senator Sinodinos was employed to open doors to Liberal politicians, contradicting evidence given by AWH’s former executive chairman John Rippon on Tuesday.
Senator Sinodinos has denied any wrongdoing and is set to give evidence at the ICAC over the next fortnight.
It also emerged on Wednesday that taxpayers may have paid for a $352 limousine ride for the son of disgraced former Labor powerbroker Eddie Obeid.
Eddie Obeid Jr, also an AWH employee, took the luxury car journey from Hunters Hill, in Sydney’s northwest, to Acer Arena at Olympic Park on July 2, 2008, ICAC heard.
The driver waited for Mr Obeid Jr before returning him home.
The fee for the trip was invoiced to AWH, along with other limousine rides totalling $885.
Mr MacGregor-Fraser said he could not remember if the Obeid limousine ride was charged back to publicly-owned Sydney Water.
AWH allegedly improperly charged Sydney Water hundreds of thousands of dollars for limousines, a box at ANZ Stadium, large salaries, donations to the Liberal Party and other items under a deal the two entities signed in 1992.