QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
MINISTER FOR MINERAL RESOURCES, AND MINISTER FOR FISHERIES PECUNIARY INTEREST DISCLOSURE
The Hon. J. M. SAMIOS:
I ask the Minister for Mineral Resources, and Minister for Fisheries: is it a fact that he owns shares in the company Hapgeti Pty Ltd which in turn owns 51 per cent of shares in Streetscape Pty Ltd? Is he aware of serious
allegations of corruption involving Streetscape Pty Ltd, Sydney City Council and the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games? Can he explain why the Australian Securities Commission database revealed his shareholding in Hapgeti whereas a search of his pecuniary interest disclosure for 1996-97 and 1997-98 reveals that he failed to disclose this interest? Why has he misled the House?
The Hon. E. M. OBEID:
I will answer the questions by reading a letter I wrote to the Premier this morning:
I am writing in regard to your request for information concerning media reports in the Sydney Morning Herald today.
I had no prior knowledge of, and no involvement in, any commercial discussions that may have taken place between my sons, Paul and Moses Obeid, and Goldspar Australia Pty Limited. I did not perform any consultancy duties in relation to those commercial discussions.
Since I became a minister I have had no active part in any professional practice or in any business. In this period I have not undertaken any consultancy work, paid or otherwise, for Obeid Corporation Pty Limited. I last received a income from Obeid Corporation on 30 December 1998.
Another letter I wrote to the Premier reads as follows:
It has been drawn to my attention that the Australian Securities and Investments Commission computer database incorrectly lists me as the shareholder of Hapgeti.
I wish to advise you that this is not the case. I am not and never have been, a shareholder of this company.
I have written to ASIC this morning and asked them to correct the error, please find attached copies of that correspondence.
I also wrote a letter to Mr Grahame Knight, Business Manager, Australian Securities and Investments Commission, which reads as follows:
It has been brought to my attention that an historical company extract for Hapgeti Pty Ltd (ACN 078 133 347) dated 7 September 1999 wrongly shows myself, Edward Moses Obeid, as a shareholder.
I am not nor have I ever been a shareholder of this Company. I have never authorised any person to use my name in connection with this Company.
As far as I am aware, the sole shareholder of this Company is my son, Mr Moses Obeid, who is a businessman independent of myself.
Attached are source documents in relation to Hapgeti which show an application for shares by Moses Edward Obeid dated 8 April 1997, and an extract from the Register of Members dated 8 April 1997 which lists only Moses Edward Obeid as the appropriate shareholder.
Your records will also confirm there has been no other share allocation in Hapgeti other than to Moses Edward Obeid. This error appears to have occurred because of the similarity in my name (Edward Moses Obeid) with that of my son (Moses Edward Obeid)
I would appreciate your office amending your records accordingly.
I table each of those letters, the relevant page of the Register of Members and the application for shares in Hapgeti. In relation to other matters raised in the question asked by the Hon. J. M. Samios, I deny any allegations totally. My sons are on the record as also having denied any of the allegations. Appropriate legal action will take place in the appropriate courts in relation to the article. If the Opposition is serious about these allegations, I suggest it refer them to the Independent Commission Against Corruption [ICAC]. That is the most appropriate forum to hear and flush out such matters.