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ICAC abandons any enquiry into Metgasco

Metgasco boss Peter Henderson.
Metgasco boss Peter Henderson. Cathy Adams

UPDATE 6am Tuesday: THE damage to its reputation is already done, but the Independent Commission Against Corruption says it will not proceed with an inquiry into Metgasco's affairs.

Three weeks ago, on the same day he suspended the company's PEL16 exploration licence, NSW Resources Minister Anthony Roberts sensationally announced he had written to ICAC after receiving information about shareholdings and interests in Metgasco.

But yesterday ICAC deputy commissioner Theresa Hamilton wrote to the company advising them that, "shareholding arrangements alone are not indicative of corrupt conduct", and Metgasco's shareholder arrangements "did not fall within the ICAC's jurisdiction".

The decision will not have any bearing on the current suspension of Metgasco PEL16 exploration licence, a spokesman for Mr Roberts said yesterday.

But it appears there was no "corruption" to worry about, and Metgasco is relieved - but not impressed.

Metgasco chairman Len Gill said in a statement that Mr Roberts' announcement had done "major damage" to the company's reputation.

"We were shocked and extremely disappointed that the Minister chose to publicly name Metgasco," Mr Gill said.

He said the company was unaware of any basis for the referral.

A spokesman from Mr Roberts' office said the Minister was obliged under the ICAC Act to refer the company originally as the information "had been presented to him from three different sources that day".

 

ORIGINAL 2.45pm Monday: THE INDEPENDENT Commission Against Corruption, or ICAC, will not be conducting an investigation into Metgasco's affairs, the company announced today.

In an ASX statement Metgasco chairman Len Gill said the company had always maintained there was "no basis" for the referral to ICAC by Energy Minister Anthony Roberts last month.

Mr Gill said the announcement of the ICAC referral by the Minister had done "major damage" to the company's reputation.

The company also maintains that the suspension of its PEL16 exploration licence is invalid.

 

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