WESTCONNEX Action Group has renewed its call for a public inquiry into the $16.8 billion WestCONnex toll road after two of its main contractors, Leighton Holdings (CIMIC) and Samsung, were reported to have used corrupt practices to secure billion-dollar government contracts overseas.
The firms were named in a Fairfax Media/Huffington Post investigation last week, which said Leighton and Samsung worked with Unaoil to pay bribes and secure government contracts in the Middle East.
“It’s incredibly disturbing to discover Leighton was bribing government officials overseas at the same time it was making huge donations to the Liberal, National and Labor parties here in Australia,” said WestCONnex Action Group (WAG) spokesperson Pauline Lockie.
“This isn’t the first time Leighton has faced accusations of making corrupt payments to buy its way into government contracts – which is shocking given it’s been awarded multi-billion contracts by the NSW Baird Government to build WestCONnex.
“Now Samsung has been accused of engaging in the same kind of corruption – and it’s won multi-billion dollar construction contracts to work with Leighton on the WestCONnex M4 East and New M5.
“How are Australian taxpayers expected to believe corruption isn't taking place with WestCONnex when the Baird Government has done everything it can to dodge transparency on this project?
“They hid the WestCONnex business case for years, even though this $16.8 billion toll road is funded by taxpayers. Even when they finally released it, they blacked out the cost and toll revenue figures.
“They also handed over responsibility for building WestCONnex to the Sydney Motorway Corporation, a private company that’s immune from freedom of information requests and public scrutiny.
“Meanwhile, independent experts are lining up to say WestCONnex will be a massive financial failure – one that will sentence western Sydney drivers to decades of high tolls and traffic jams.
"Australians deserve to know why billions of dollars of our money is being handed to allegedly corrupt companies by the Baird-Turnbull Governments to build a toll road that’s likely to fail.
“This can only happen if Premier Mike Baird calls a halt to WestCONnex while a public inquiry takes place, and we call on him again to do exactly that,” said Ms Lockie.
Media contacts: Pauline Lockie 0414 470 106, Janet Dandy-Ward 0411 633 676
See all stories from the Fairfax Media / Huffington Post investigation into Unaoil and corruption on their website.