NSW Premier Mike Baird had a secret meeting a few weeks ago with Charif Kazal who in 2011 was found to be corrupt by the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) for bribing government official Andrew Kelly. There are a thousand reasons why Premier Baird should not have met with Mr Kazal so it is worth looking at in finer detail than the short mention in last week’s article on this website.
Mr Baird’s secret meeting becomes more interesting given Charif Kazal and his brothers had links to the former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi and have “forged close ties to the royal families of the United Arab Emirates, including Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al- Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai”. (Click here to read more)
In November 2015 Premier Magic Mike sold the NSW power network Transgrid for $10.26 billion to a consortium which is part owned by Middle Eastern government organisations that are notorious for paying bribes. In this case the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (19.99 per cent) and Kuwait Investment Authority (19.99 per cent). (Click here to read more) Was Charif Kazal involved in the sale? Was there a kickback paid? There are future sales planned for Ausgrid and Endeavour Energy and obviously one has to wonder if this was discussed at the secret meeting.
Google “Abu Dhabi” “Charif Kazal” and see what you find.
When you understand the background regarding Mike Baird, Charif Kazal and ICAC any fair minded person would be extremely concerned about why the secret meeting between Baird and Kazal took place and what was discussed. Mr Baird and his advisors were obviously concerned that the meeting might be discovered and that is why they had it at his electoral office in Manly.
Below is a summary of the background that should have and would have sent alarm bells ringing for Mike Baird and his advisors not to meet Charif Kazal. Which leaves the question: Was Mike Baird bribed or blackmailed?
- The eight Kazal brothers (formerly the Hussein brothers) seemed to have moved to Australia in the late 80’s or early 90’s. The SMH reported: The eight Hussein brothers settled in Beverley Park during the 1990s. But they would not be Husseins for long. After arriving in stages from Lebanon, the Persian Gulf and northern Europe, they changed their name, wanting to fit in. A handful of them changed their identities several times. Some of the brothers had been on the fringes of great wealth; Tony Kazal had worked for some of the most powerful people of the Arab world – the rulers of Abu Dhabi and Dubai. (Click mere to read more) The Kazal Family have donated heavily to both the Labor Party and Liberal Party.
- In 2009 ICAC swept corruption allegations against the Kazal family and government officials under the carpet.
- A 2010 investigation by SMH forced ICAC to re-investigate the Kazal family and its dealings with the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority. It included millions of dollars being ripped off taxpayers for the benefit of the Kazal family companies and bribing officials. (Click here to read more)
- In December 2011 ICAC found Charif Kazal had acted corruptly in an attempt to benefit his company when he bribed government official Andrew Kelly. Criminal charges were recommended against both. (Click here to read more)
- In March 2013 “former Fairfax journalist Linton Besser reported Adam Kazal to the police after he and associates came to Fairfax Media’s office in Pyrmont on several occasions to complain about a story Besser had written regarding a businessman who was threatened and whose family was followed by a private investigator.” (Click here to read more)
- In October 2014 it was reported “A Sydney businessman fears for his safety after allegedly being threatened by Adam Kazal over a debt owed to a company owned by prominent former Macquarie banker Bill Moss.” (Click here to read more)
- In February 2016 Charif Kazal bribed Channel 10, journalist Adam Walters and Channel Ten’s news director John Choueifate to broadcast a two-part story full of lies clearing Mr Kazal of the ICAC corruption findings. Some of Channel 10’s claims were that Mr Kazal had been cleared by ICAC and defamed by newspaper stories. These were total lies by Channel 10 and they apologised for their story when they were threatened with defamation proceedings which I wrote about in my last article. The first part went to air on the 9th February 2016 (Click here to read and watch the video)
- On the 10th of February the second part was broadcast which was to reveal “Charif Kazal’s dealings with Mike Baird before and after he became Premier” as newsreader Sandra Sully said at the end of the first part of the story. Unfortunately I do not have a copy of that night’s story only of the first night which is in the previous post. The clear impression that was implied is that Premier Mike Baird had acted corruptly in his dealings with Mr Kazal and that Mr Kazal was going to blow the whistle on Mike Baird.
- On the 22nd of February 2016 the ABC’s Media Watch program broadcast a story on Channel 10 and the lies they told in an attempt to rewrite history and clear Charif Kazal of the corrupt conduct finding by ICAC. (Click here to read more or watch the show)
- On the 28th of February Fairfax Media reported that Premier Mike Baird had his secret meeting with Charif Kazal “last week”. This would mean the meeting took place sometime between the 15th and 21st of February which is just after the Channel 10 story. The Channel 10 story seems to have had the desired effect of intimidating Premier Mike Baird to have a meeting for the benefit of the Kazal Family. The meeting was described as: “Charif Kazal, the Sydney businessman found to be corrupt by the ICAC over his business dealings in the Rocks has met with Premier Mike Baird to discuss his case being re-examined by the inspector of the corruption watchdog.” (Click here to read more)
- The Premier’s spokesman said that: “Mr Baird met with Mr Kazal in his electorate office in his capacity as MP for Manly. A member of Mr Baird’s electorate office staff will write to the Inspector of the ICAC, informing him that the meeting took place.” I think the reality is that Mr Baird met with Mr Kazal because he was worried that Kazal would blow the whistle on some corruption that Mike Baird has been involved in.
One thing is for certain and that is the meeting should have never taken place in the first place. And here is just a few reasons why not.
- Charif Kazal has been found to be corrupt by the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) and had criminal charges recommended against him for bribing a public official. Would Premier Mike Baird meet with Eddie Obeid etc.? Of course not. And he shouldn’t have met with Kazal as well.
- The conduct of the NSW Independent Commission Against Corrupt is currently being reviewed by the NSW government which is led by Premier Mike Baird. There is the impression that one of the people found to be corrupt by ICAC is getting special favours off the Premier.
- Given Charif Kazal was found to have bribed a public official some people might think he is also bribing Mike Baird.
- The Channel 10 program was full of lies and clearly designed to some degree to intimidate Mike Baird by implying he had acted corruptly in his dealings with Charif Kazal. This would likely lead to some people thinking that Mike Baird might have been blackmailed by Charif Kazal to help him get the ICAC findings against him overturned.
- The secret meeting itself would be grounds for ICAC to investigate as the meeting does not past the pub test and there is something badly wrong with it.
- It is worth repeating, Google “Abu Dhabi” “Charif Kazal” and see what you find. Mike Baird secretly met with Charif Kazal who has close connections in Abu Dhabi (the capital of the United Arab Emirates) only a couple of months after they won a billion-dollar tender. Abu Dhabi Investment Authority owns 19.99 per cent of the winning consortium for the $10.26 billion purchase of NSW power network Transgrid. And Mr Kazal has form on the board for bribing government officials. The question is what role did Mike Baird have in deciding the tender winner? There have already been other questions raised previously with allegations of dodgy conduct by the Premier’s office in the sale process of Transgrid. Mr Baird should have known he should not be having secret meetings with a known briber of officials with connections to the winning tender only a couple of months after a billion-dollar sale that Mr Baird had oversight for.
There are a thousand other reasons why the meeting should not have happened but one has to wonder why the Labor Party has not raised the issue. It might have something to do with the large donations the Kazals have also given the Labor Party.
The above would be a perfect story for the mainstream media and why they haven’t jumped on it who knows. Maybe they will with Linton Besser now working at the ABC’s Four Corners. I doubt very much that we have heard the last of Mike Baird’s dealings with the Kazals.
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