NSW MP John Sidoti has insisted on an anti-corruption investigation that he is “indifferent” to the results of council meetings discussing zone changes that would benefit his family, despite their advocacy .
But the lawyer for the Independent Commission against Corruption dismissed the allegation of the former Berejikl government minister as “absolutely ridiculous”.
The Drummoyne MP, who peeked at the ICAC investigation, was reprimanded Friday for making speeches and avoiding questions when he was on his fourth day on the witness stand.
Mr Sidoti was reminded several times on Thursday that he testified under oath by Commissioner Peter Hall QC demanding that he stop being argumentative and evasive.
Once, Mr. Hall asked the MP if he had memory problems.
The investigation is investigating allegations that Mr Sidoti has failed to disclose some of his financial interests and has abused his position as a MP.
He is accused of pressuring Canada Bay councilors, in Sydney’s inner west, to vote for urban changes that would allow further development on Five Dock sites owned by his family and friends.
He denies any wrongdoing.
The investigation has heard evidence that Mr Sidoti has met regularly with three Liberal councilors on the matter.
Mr Sidoti has insisted that he never pushed local councils to accept the changes, despite telling one in 2015 that he was “fucked” without his voice.
On Friday, Mr Sidoti argued that he was “indifferent” to the outcome of several council meetings dealing with the issue.
However, Mr Ranken said that the emails and texts he sent before and during the meetings were “completely inconsistent” with this notion.
Prior to a meeting in 2016, Mr. Sidoti sent a “script” to a city council instructing him on what to say, Mr. Ranken said.
He also sent texts to another participant during the meeting to check their progress.
“It is utterly ridiculous not to say that you … did not care about a resolution that directly benefited your family’s property interests?” Mr. Ranken said.
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“I have always represented my constituents and I will continue to do so,” Sidoti replied.
Mr. Sidoti was also asked how he had formulated his position on the issue after the consultation revealed that some parishioners were against the zoning change.
He said he examined all views on the matter before reaching his conclusion, but believed that only a handful of people were against the changes.
“And it happened by chance that this was also a result that favored your family’s property interests?” Mr. Ranken said.
“That wasn’t a perception of a conflict of interest?”
“You want to represent the interests of the community by making a recommendation that will favor those voters whose interests coincide with your own property interests over those who opposed such an outcome?”
Mr. Sidoti said, “That was the by-product, but that was never a motivation.”
The request continues.