NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell said that he will resign over the evidence he gave at the Independent Commission against Corruption (ICAC) yesterday.
Premier O’Farrell yesterday denied receiving a $3,000 bottle of wine in 2011 from Australian Water Holdings (AWH) executive Nick Di Girolamo. He also said that he has no memory of any phone call made by Girolamo.
A major twist in the story came when today morning, ICAC heard that a handwritten note from O’Farrell, thanking Di Girolamo for the wine, had been revealed.
Soon after this development Barry O ‘Farrell called a media conference on a short note in which he announced his decision to step down.
Though he accepted that there is a thank you note signed by him and said, “As someone who believes in accountability, in responsibility, I accept the consequences of my action,” he said.
After news of the resignation ICAC recalled O’Farrell to give more evidence this afternoon.
O’Farrell admitted that the thank you note produced this morning and sent to Di Girolamo was in his handwriting but added that the note had done nothing to refresh his memory about having taken possession of the bottle of Grange, bottled on May 24, 1959 – his birthday. Though, he apologised for misleading the inquiry.
“I gave yesterday my best recollection of that, which was clearly [a mistake]. I regret that,” he said.
Yesterday he gave a statement in which he stated that contrary to some media commentary following my evidence at the ICAC today, proof has not been presented that a bottle of 1959 Grange was ever delivered to my house.
“Some media are claiming that a so-called ‘receipt’ dated Good Friday 22 April 2011 from a courier company in some way ‘proves’ that the wine was received at my home on 20 April”.
“That document is not a receipt. It is an invoice to AWH. That document only shows AWH were billed for the pick-up of an item from their offices at Bella Vista. The document does not show the item was ever received by me or my wife on either Wednesday 20 April or Thursday 21 April or Good Friday 22 April or at any other time. No-one was at my home from mid-afternoon Thursday 21 April through to late Easter Sunday. We were holidaying in Queensland”,
“I left my home early on Thursday 21 April and did not return until late Easter Sunday night to attend Anzac Day ceremonies on Monday. The 1959 Grange was not received by me or my wife.
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