A FARMER who sold his land to Eddie Obeid says the former Labor MP told him he did not want his name connected with the sale.
The former Labor MP Eddie Obeid tried to hide his involvement in the purchase of farm land that was opened up to mining by former NSW mines minister Ian MacDonald, a corruption inquiry has heard.
The Independent Commission Against Corruption Inquiry (ICAC) is investigating Mr Macdonald's 2008 decision to open the Bylong Valley to coal mining and how it benefited Mr Obeid.
Mr Macdonald is accused of doing the bidding of the Obeid family, who hid their involvement through complex trust and company structures.
Today, John Cherry, a former accountant and farmer who sold Cherrydale Park, the property at the centre of the inquiry to the Obeid family, said Mr Obeid wanted to change name details on ownership documents involved in the acquisition to hide his involvement.
After he had sold the property, Mr Cherry said Mr Obeid called him "out of the blue", saying he "did not want him or the family to be connected with coal mining and therefore wanted the changes to be made".
Mr Cherry said Mr Obeid wanted to create the appearance that "he was against coal mining in the Bylong valley" by making the changes to naming details of the deal.
Mr Cherry said he denied Mr Obeid's request because he "didn't trust the whole thing".
"I thought it was ridiculous," he said.
Mr Cherry told the inquiry that before he even listed the property for sale he got a call from a station agent who told him Mr Obeid was interested in buying the farm.
Mr Cherry said the farm was "plush pasture" for cattle farming but that Mr Obeid wanted to run goats, cattle, have a milking cow do "all sorts of strange things" on the land.
Mr Cherry said after selling the farm to Mr Obeid he received a report there were only about 150 "old breeding cows" on the property.
There was "not a hope in the world" that Cherrydale Park was economically viable with that level of stock, Mr Cherry said.
He told the inquiry he had no idea Cherrydale was sitting on coal deposits or that coal mining was to start in the Bylong Valley.