A Builder Has Told ICAC He Was Asked To Support The Liberal 'Boys'

Former NSW Energy Minister Chris Hartcher resigned in December after ICAC raided his office.

A builder has told the Independent Commission Against Corruption that he was asked to make a political donation supporting the Liberal party “boys”.

The ICAC is investigating whether three Liberal MPs including former NSW energy minister Chris Hartcher, Chris Spence and Darren Webber received illegal political donations.

It alleges over $400,000 in donations, some of which came from property developers, were filtered through a former staffer’s company Eightbyfive. Property developers are banned from making political donations in NSW since 2009.

Today the ICAC heard Central Coast builder Matthew Lusted was unaware he was making a hidden donation of about $5000 to the Liberal Party in 2011.

Lusted told the inquiry Hartcher’s former assistant Ray Carter asked him to “contribute for the boys who are standing on the coast”. The “boys” Carter was allegedly referring to were Hartcher, Spence and Webber.

Lusted also claims Carter told him not to declare the donation, which was paid to former Hartcher staffer Tim Koelma’s company Eightbyfive, to the Electoral Funding Commission, the ICAC heard.

Carter allegedly told Lusted “no one’s going to find out about anything; you’ve got nothing to worry about”. Lusted said this didn’t sit right with him, “something stunk”, he said of the exchange.

Lusted said he was unaware the money was being allegedly laundered through Eightbyfive but said he “had a gut feeling something was not right”.

The inquiry continues this week. Here’s the witness list.

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