A construction boss felt "held at ransom" by an ex-Ausgrid engineer who allegedly demanded expensive gifts in return for help securing government contracts, the ICAC has heard.

The NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption is investigating allegations Phillip Cresnar solicited and received more than $300,000 in kickbacks between 2008 and 2014 from companies vying for work laying electricity cables. As a project engineer for the state-owned Ausgrid, Mr Cresnar initiated and helped oversee contracts in Sydney’s northern suburbs…