Wagga businessman Peter Wood received $30,000 in cash for hiring a Chinese national who never showed up, the ICAC hearing into Daryl Maguire heard today.
Mr Wood, a partner at Creative Business Furniture, said he had been friends with the former Wagga MP for over 30 years.
He told the hearing Daryl Maguire introduced him to a woman called Maggie Wang in early 2013 to discuss the potential of hiring a Chinese national to work in accounts and promotion.
He said Ms Wang told him under a government immigration scheme he could employ a man named Xue Dong Kang and receive a one-off $30,000 incentive payment to help cover his wages.
Mr Wood said he recalled agreeing to employ Mr Kang for a minimum period of three months, however immigration documents obtained by ICAC appear to show the agreement was for a minimum period of two years.
Counsel assisting ICAC Scott Robertson showed Mr Wood a variety of documents relating to Creative Business Furniture that appeared to have been prepared by Ms Wang's team, many with Mr Wood's signature.
Over the course of his testimony Mr Wood became more confident that he had not seen the documents before, and there was a possibility his signature may have been copied from a previous document.
Mr Wood told ICAC he was paid the $30,000 in cash, which he put into the company's account and books as soon as possible.
Mr Kang never showed up for his job, but Mr Wood said neither he nor Ms Wang ever discussed returning the $30,000.
Mr Wood says he possibly realised the scheme was not legitimate when Mr Kang did not turn up, but said "maybe I'm a bit ignorant of a few things."
"I just thought we'd done the right thing and we were covered, but it didn't seem right that he didn't turn up," he said.
He said when he originally agreed to the deal he believed the scheme to be legitimate because it had been introduced to him by Mr Maguire and the documents Ms Wang presented him with appeared to be legitimate government documents.
"I thought it was okay, but after all this (seeing the documents provided at the hearing) it doesn't look very good," Mr Wood said.
To conclude his testimony, Mr Wood said the documents he had seen as part of giving evidence had validated some suspicions he had about the scheme.
"Thanks for opening my eyes up," he told the hearing.