Independent Commission Against Corruption staff retrieved a hard drive belonging to former Wagga MP Daryl Maguire from Parliament House yesterday after his staff member admitted to keeping it for the past two years.
Government Whip secretary Rebecca Cartwright admitted to allegations at an ICAC hearing that she "concealed" the hard drive and had kept it in her office for the past two years.
Ms Cartwright detailed how she was sent a hard drive from Parliament House's IT department.
"[Mr Maguire] said to me there was a hard drive coming from IT ... I asked it how he wanted it to send it to me," she said.
Ms Cartwright said it "belonged to Daryl or it came from his computer" and Mr Maguire told her to send it to him but it would get "lost in the post".
Ms Cartwright said she kept the hard drive and she still had it in the Government Whip's office.
ICAC Assistant Commissioner Ruth McColl directed Ms Cartwright to produce the hard drive.
Ms Cartwright agreed with AC McColl's suggestion that Mr Maguire "wanted it to disappear".
Counsel assisting ICAC Scott Robertson asked her why she had not told ICAC previously about the hard drive and whether she "assisted him in concealing it" and "kept away from this commission material that may incriminate him".
She said she "just kept it" and then said "I agree".
The hearing was adjourned to allow ICAC staff to escort Ms Cartwright to Parliament House to retrieve the hard drive.
The ICAC hearing resumed at about 2.45pm and counsel assisting ICAC Scott Robertson said "the hard drive has been secured".
A solicitor for Mr Maguire has asked Ms Cartwright if Mr Maguire was upset that he had been "abandoned by his party" and his attitude was that he "wanted to get out of the place, he was over it".
"Is it not the case that he was saying 'I don't care anymore, I don't want it"," he asked.
Ms Cartwright agreed with those statements and that Mr Maguire "just didn't want" his hard drive.
In her testimony once she returned from Parliament House, Ms Cartwright "clarified" her previous statements to ICAC several times.
Ms Cartwright told her own solicitor at the hearing that she "felt pressured" to say "yes" to a question earlier in the hearing that she kept the hard drive in order to conceal it from ICAC.
"I just kept it," she said.
Mr Robertson asked Ms Cartwright why she did not volunteer to ICAC that she had the hard drive during a previous compulsory examination.
"I had forgotten about it," she said.
AC McColl asked Ms Cartwright that "You were complying with what you understood [Mr Maguire's] request to you, was that this hard drive not be disclosed to the world"
"Correct," she replied.
In other news
In closing the third day of hearings, Mr Robertson said the hard drive might be "subject of parliamentary privilege" and ICAC would have to investigate whether they could legally access its contents.
In NSW Parliament, Labor opposition leader Jodi McKay asked Premier Gladys Berejiklian about the hard drive.
"Premier, a short time ago it was revealed in the Independent Commission Against Corruption that evidence has been hidden in your Liberal Party Whip's office for up to two years," Ms McKay said.
"Will you act today and give the House a full explanation of your Government Whip's involvement in this matter?"
Ms Berejiklian replied that "as is appropriate, the ICAC is conducting an investigation. Let's allow the ICAC to do its work".
Ms McKay then asked "can you give an assurance that no other evidence is being hidden by any member of your government".
Ms Berejiklian replied "we should allow that body to do the work that it is designed to do".