Londonderry MP Bart Bassett has decided to stand aside from his parliamentary position with the Liberal Party, while the ICAC hearings are carried out.
‘‘This morning the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) extended its inquiry to look into whether Buildev sought to influence me in my former role as Hawkesbury Mayor,’’ he said. ‘‘I reject this allegation and I look forward to my opportunity to clear my name.’’
Mr Bassett said he had informed NSW Premier Mike Baird of his decision, and it’s been accepted.
‘‘I am not prepared to allow this to become a distraction for the Liberal Party or the Government,’’ he said.
The ICAC has heard that Mr Tinkler's company Buildev made an $18,000 payment to Mr Bassett's re-election campaign for the seat of Londonderry in December 2010.
The ICAC corruption inquiry was formally widened to include whether Nathan Tinkler’s property development company ‘‘influenced or sought to influence’’ Mr Bassett over the controversial North Richmond housing development.
The commission heard on Wednesday that the money, which was paid to an alleged Liberal Party front organisation called a Free Enterprise Foundation, ‘‘went straight into Mr Bassett's [election campaign] account’’ and was used to buy election advertising material.
Property developers have been banned from making political donations in NSW since 2009.
Mr Bassett has been called to appear at ICAC this Friday, August 29.