Former Minister found guilty over unionist mining lease

Former NSW Minister Ian MacDonald will be sentenced to a possible jail term after he was found guilty of misconduct in public office over the issuing of a mining lease.

A jury in New South Wales found Macdonald guilty on two counts of misconduct in public office while ex-union boss John Maitland has been found guilty of two counts of being an accessory to misconduct in public office.

The former Labor Minister was accused of granting a licence to a company controlled by his friend John Maitland, in order to secure his career after his retirement from NSW politics.

He granted the coal exploration licence at Doyles Creek in the Hunter Valley to Doyles Creek Mining in 2008 without tendering it out or consulting his colleagues.

The court heard Maitland made $6 million out of the deal when he sold shares in the company that acquired Doyles Creek Mining.

Macdonald is likely to join fellow NSW Labor powerbroker Eddie Obeid behind bars. Obeid was sentenced to at least three years in prison after being found guilty of corruption last year.

This will further heighten concern about rubber stamping mining deals, making regulators more wary of undue influence on applications.