Kenyan-born Australian Senator to Refund Taxpayers’ $1,600

Kenyan-born Australian Senator Lucy Gichuhi

June 17, 2018//-Kenyan-born Australian Senator Lucy Gichuhi will pay back $1,600 (Australian$2,139) she used to fly two relatives to her birthday party.

The South Australia Senator used the cash to fly the family members to her “50th plus GST” birthday celebrations in Adelaide, Australia.

Following media reports, Ms Gichuhi termed the incident an administrative error and agreed to pay back the funds.

“Regarding the media reports about my travel expenses, this was an administrative error involving misunderstanding of travel rules. I’ve raised an invoice from the department to pay the costs of $2139 in full,” tweeted Ms Gichuhi on Sunday.

A vote recount

Australian Members of Parliament are allowed to claim travel allowances for official duties such travelling to or from sittings of the House of Parliament, formal business of parliamentary committees and attendance of official government functions.

Ms Gichuhi won the South Australia seat last year through a vote recount after the winner’s election was nullified, becoming the first senator of African descent in the Australian senate.

During the senate vote of July 2016, Ms Gichuhi was vying to represent the state of South Australia on a Family First Party ticket.

The only other candidate in the party was Mr Bob Day, and given the number of votes the party received, only one candidate would head to the Senate.

Had done business

Ms Gichuhi had considered the seat lost, as Mr Day was selected to represent the state.

But Mr Day’s eligibility to vie was questioned in court. In the verdict issued last week, High Court judges sitting in the Court of Disputed Returns found that he had done business with the government by renting out a house in 2015.

Having annulled Mr Day’s candidature, the judges ordered a special recount of the votes.

That meant Ms Gichuhi was a likely taker of the seat because unlike the Kenyan system, where a candidate is elected, in Australia it is the party that is elected first before the number of its representatives in the senate is determined using a specified formula.

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