Kenyan-born Australian Senator accused of corruption
Kenyan-born Australian Senator Lucy Gichuhi, who was sworn in Australian parliament last year to become the first black African member of the federal parliament, has been accused of treating tax payer’s money as her ATM.
According to an article published by the Herald Sun on Saturday, the Liberal senator will pay back thousands of Australian dollars after she billed taxpayers to fly two family members to Adelaide for her 50th birthday party.
The senator now will face parliament to explain why she thought the public should pay for her to fly her relatives in for a party.
In her maiden speech in parliament last year, Mrs Gichuhi spoke of how she was scared after finding welfare money in her account just after moving to Australia from Kenya.
“I remember the first time we found welfare money in our bank account shortly after our arrival in Australia. We were terrified because we were not used to receiving money for nothing from strangers. All I knew was that the only time you get money is when you work for it. I said to my husband, ‘We will have to return it.”
She continued to say that she had learnt that spending money you have not worked for fundamentally changes who you are and inhibits your capacity and ability to become all you could be.
After she was elected in parliament Ms Gichuhi had to fight for her seat after a push by lawyers for Labor’s Anne McEwen, who wanted to challenge her eligibility based on whether she still retained her Kenyan citizenship.
The High Court rejected Labor’s push to challenge the eligibility based on concerns about her citizenship.
The Kenyan-born lawyer migrated to Australia in 1999 and said she became an Australian citizen in 2001 and never held dual citizenship.
It is unclear if Ms Gichuhi had to provide formal proof of having renounced her Kenyan citizenship before running for parliament.
She maintained there was no issue with her eligibility.
“I am an Australian citizen and am eligible to serve — I will continue to take advice on all of these matters as we move forward,” Ms Gichuhi said in a statement.