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Inquiry: Who Knew About The $100k In Aldi Bag?

There was one sure way to get a seat at the VVIP – or very, very important person – table at a NSW Labor fundraising event.

Be super-rich.

Exiled Chinese property billionaire Huang Xiangmo was photographed smiling in between then Labor leaders Bill Shorten and Luke Foley at the Chinese Friends of Labor dinner in 2015

The ICAC Commissioner today asking why he was seated at the top table.

“He’s not a Labor luminary, possibly doesn’t even subscribe to Labor ideology?” ICAC Chief Commissioner Peter Hall QC asked ALP staffer Kenrick Cheah, who sat uncomfortably in the witness box.

“Because he is a rich man,” Cheah replied.

“You don’t want to offend a rich and powerful guy.

“I don’t know if there’s anyone richer or more powerful at the time.”

Prompting the Commissioner to ask; “Is that a criteria is it?”

NSW Labor's community relations director Kenrick Cheah leaves The NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) public inquiry. Photo: AAP

Earlier, Cheah’s testimony dumped the current ALP party boss Kaila Murnain in the hot seat, claiming she knew of a massive cash donation at the centre of this inquiry.

Cheah has admitted he counted out the $100,000 cash at his desk at ALP headquarters – a huge money haul hand-delivered by Xiangmo in an ALDI bag to then ALP general secretary Jamie Clements.

Cheah took the money with him that night.

“I took the money home with me because I was not aware of any secure facilities at the ALP offices – when I left some ALP staff were there and said ‘be careful’ to me,” he said in a statement to investigators.

Today he named Kurnain.

“I’m pretty sure Kaila was the one who said ‘be careful.’”

Counsel assisting the ICAC, Scott Robertson grilled him further.

“Ms Murnain knew you had a substantial amount of money and that you were taking it home?” he asked Cheah.

“I’m pretty sure,” Mr Cheah replied.

“Probably because of the large ALDI bag on my desk, probably in conversation, she would have said ‘what’s that?” and I told her.”

Murnain is due to testify at ICAC tomorrow.