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Civil Service Commissioner Kathrina Lo has attacked the recruitment process that appointed John Barilaro to a US trading post in scathing evidence in which she claims the minister and staff at Investment NSW hid information from investigators .

The senior civil servant who signed a candidacy report for Barilaro, which had been amended and had some grades upgraded, said she would never have signed the report had she been fully briefed by Investment NSW at the time .

“I have recently become aware, including through testimony presented at hearings of this investigation and through media reports, of various issues relating to this recruitment process,” Lo said during his appearance before a police investigation. upper house on Barilaro’s appointment as head of trade and investment. commissioner in the Americas.

“This includes the degree of departmental involvement, including contributing to prequalification and providing informal information and referrals.

“If I had known on June 15 what I know now, I would not have approved the report.

“I should never be used as a cover.”

The senior official was one of four panelists brought in to interview candidates for the coveted U.S. Commerce post, which Barilaro went to in May. Barilaro stepped down from the role amid criticism in late June.

Lo said she was unaware of many aspects of the interview process, including the actions of the Government and Investment NSW staff regarding the hiring, including the fact that Stuart Ayres, then Minister for Commerce, met candidate Kimberley Cole and that Investment NSW staff had sought informal information. referees for the other candidates.

She said she had serious concerns about how a third candidate, Mike Fitzpatrick, was treated throughout the selection process.

The senior official also said that a fourth member of the committee, Warwick Smith, had also expressed doubts about the recruitment process and his feeling that he would not have approved the report of Barilaro’s candidate if he had been fully informed of all government decisions and Investment NSW Actions at the time.

“I was not aware that informal references were being sought for a candidate, or that the Minister had met with Ms. Kimberly Cole,” Lo said.

“The other independent member of the panel, the Honorable Warwick Smith, who was not called as a witness prior to this inquest, would like me to clarify that if he had known then what he knows now, he would not have approved the report either.

“In particular, he was unaware that the Minister had met Miss Cole, and he is concerned about the treatment of the third-placed candidate.”

More soon.

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