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Monday, December 19, 2016

He who must be Obeid

 

When reading through the corrupt activities of former Labor minister Eddie Obeid, it's easy to believe that the Rum Corps is still alive and well in Sydney.

What is troubling is that his Circular Quay machinations may never have come to light, had not his own son Moses tendered certain documents to the NSW Supreme Court to claw back $12 million from Sydney City Council. Those documents revealed for the first time the full extent of the Obeid family’s financial interests — including a $700,000 stake in cafes at Circular Quay.

He and his son Moses also face further corruption charges relating to a lucrative coal tenement which sits "smack bang" on top of the Obeid family's rural property and gave them a $30 million windfall.

Eddie Obeid's tentacles stretched through all levels of government, encircling almost every precious resource – coal leases, Circular Quay cafes, marinas, even the state’s water. All of them were secret money-spinners for Obeid and his family.

For a long time, he wielded enormous political power by extending small favours, unsolicited, knowing full well he was creating a moral bank balance in which the subject was always in debt. As one politician said, "He would even create artificial obstacles that he would then fix. It was like: 'Listen, there’s a bit of carpet sticking up outside your office. You could have tripped. We’ve fixed it for you.'"

Boy, does that sound familiar! During my time in Jeddah, my boss Abdulghani Mofarrij was surrounded by a group of Lebanese whom we called "the Mafia" and whose modus operandi was exactly like that as no one could get near Abdulghani without paying tribute to them.

Fast Eddie has now been jailed for a minimum of three years which restores my faith in the blindfolded lady. He will, of course, use his considerable financial muscle to appeal, but at least he will do so from inside as the judge refused him bail.