In 37 years on the railways Joe Camilleri won a reputation as a tough character, ethical and hard-working, capable of being put in charge of billions of dollars in government contracts.
But those achievements did not seem to win him the respect of his daughter Jessica, for whom he has ruined his career and sacrificed the savings of friends and relatives.
”Everyone in your house, bullets through all of you, just f—ing wait and see,” Jessica told him in a taped phone call last July.
For the past fortnight the Independent Commission Against Commission has been holding hearings into Mr Camilleri, formerly the most senior official in charge of train maintenance in Sydney, and the way in which he procured about $4 million to pass to Jessica, who claimed to be the victim of elaborate identity fraud.
About $1.5 million of that came from other employees at and contractors to RailCorp, which is why ICAC is alleging corrupt conduct.
The money Mr Camilleri obtained for Jessica, however, did not seem to soften her frustrations with her father. ”I’m paying for someone to put a bullet in your head,” Jessica told him in July last year, in an argument over a loan from a man named Jeff that was secretly recorded by ICAC.
Appearing before ICAC for the first time on Wednesday, Mr Camilleri was repeatedly challenged about whether he believed the stories Jessica told him from 2008 about identity fraud.
”I never understood it to be a sham at all,” Mr Camilleri said.
The ICAC heard her initial claim was that she faced thousands in phone bills racked up by others under her name.
But her demands intensified, and so did the amounts of money he procured on her behalf after he had used up all his own savings.
She said that someone had purchased overseas property in her name; that she would obtain millions in payouts from all four major Australian banks provided she first sent them hundreds of thousands of dollars; and that she needed to be secretive because the security services were involved.
Mr Camilleri insisted he continued to believe her, despite the poorly spelt and ungrammatical legal letters she forwarded him, including one by a lawyer who gave his name as ”Richard Dips—”.
He said he did not doubt a letter purportedly sent to Jessica by the director-general of ASIO, David Irvine, which told her that she would soon receive large bank payments after she had resolved her problems with phone companies.
And he said that when ICAC recorded a phone conversation between the two in August 2013, in which she encouraged him to burn evidence that could be used by the ICAC, he still believed her.
Mr Camilleri, who was sacked by RailCorp in February last year for failing to disclose he had borrowed from contractors, said he only started to doubt his daughter’s stories when he was later told she had a gambling problem.