A NSW budget estimates hearing has been told that former Wagga MP Daryl Maguire has been eligible for up to $2000 a day in taxpayer-funded legal aid for his appearances at an anti-corruption inquiry.
The Department of Communities and Justice has clarified that Mr Maguire will have to repay any legal assistance if he is convicted of a serious offence as a result of the inquiry.
The Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) last week concluded a second round of public hearings for an inquiry that started in 2018 concerning allegations against Mr Maguire.
Attorney General Mark Speakman was last week asked by Greens MLC David Shoebridge if Mr Maguire's costs at ICAC were "still being met by the people of NSW".
Mr Speakman responded that Mr Maguire, as a witness, was granted assistance under section 52 of the ICAC Act.
"I do not know whether there is a gap between that part that the state is funding, on the one hand, and what he might be personally incurring, on the other hand," Mr Speakman said.
In further questioning, Mr Shoebridge asked what the daily cap was on assistance for Mr Maguire.
"Assistance by either a solicitor or junior counsel at the following prescribed rates: $180 per hour plus GST for a preparatory attendance to maximum of three hours and $240 per hour plus GST to a maximum of $1440," Mr Speakman responded.
Mr Speakman took a question on notice as to the total bill for supporting Mr Maguire's legal representation.
ICAC heard intercepted phone calls in which Mr Maguire complained about spending "10 grand" on a lawyer for an appearance at a separate ICAC inquiry.
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Mr Maguire appeared as a witness for one day of the recent hearings but was represented throughout the proceedings.
A Department of Communities and Justice spokesperson said it was in the public interest that witnesses called to give evidence before ICAC were aware of their rights and obligations.
"It is a condition of all grants of assistance that if the witness is convicted of an indictable offence as a result of the investigation or inquiry, the witness is required to repay the total amount paid, with interest," the spokesperson said.
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