In a bombshell announcement yesterday resources minister Anthony Roberts has linked Metgasco with tainted Obeid-related company Australian Water Holdings.
Mr Roberts said he had referred information about shareholdings and interests in Metgasco to the Independent Commission against Corruption.
The referral is connected to the Obeid-linked Australian Water Holdings and ERM Power Limited, which owns about 12 per cent of Metgasco.
Tony Bellas is a non-executive chairman of ERM Power.
‘We have nothing to do with Metgasco’s operation; we’re just a shareholder,’ Mr Bellas told media yesterday.
But Mr Bellas has also been on the board of the now-defunct Australian Water Queensland, an Australian Water Holdings offshoot that employed former NSW MP Eddie Obeid’s son, Eddie Jnr.
The NSW corruption watchdog has heard evidence that the Obeid family had a secret shareholding in Australian Water Holdings, which paid $183,000 to an alleged NSW Liberal slush fund.
Last night the Sydney Morning Herald reported that Mr Bellas and Eddie Obeid’s nephew, Dennis Jabour, are shareholders in the Queensland company Gasfields Waste Water and Services, of which Mr Jabour is the sole director.
The paper also revealed other murky associations around the granting and renewal Metgasco’s PEL 16.
The licence was first granted in 1996 to Carlita Holdings, owned by Peter Gray, who was also an investor in Cascade Coal, which is being investigated by ICAC.
‘In August 1999, it was transferred from Carlita Holdings to Metgasco, when Mr Obeid Snr was minister for mineral resources,’ the paper says.
‘Mr Obeid renewed the licence in 2000 and it was again renewed by Ian Macdonald in 2006.’
Mr Macdonald was also embroiled in various ICAC investigations, including Cascade Coal and its link to the Obeid family.
‘The licence was most recently renewed last year, under former Liberal resources minister Chris Hartcher. Mr Hartcher is currently the subject of an ICAC inquiry involving Australian Water Holdings.’
Mr Roberts would not detail the matters before ICAC and said it would not be up to him to say whether mining would go ahead at Bentley.
‘There are processes that are open and transparent,’ he told reporters on Thursday.
– with AAP