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Kenya-born Australian senator ordered to repay misused public funds

The senator billed taxpayers $2139 to fly two family members to Adelaide for her 50th birthday

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The Sunday Telegraph reports that Mrs Gichuhi billed taxpayers Sh216,000 ($2139) to fly two family members to Adelaide for her 50th birthday as part of her 'family traveller' allowance.

The 'family traveller' allowance is a fund that can be used to pay for family members to visit politicians on '­parliamentary, electorate or official business'.

However, the rules state that the entitlement is provided to allow senators and members the chance to balance their work and family responsibilities.

Administrative error

Ms Gichuhi has since said it was an administrative error involving misunderstanding of travel rules. She has agreed to repay the full amount in addition to a 25 per cent penalty.

'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,' the senator tweeted on Sunday.

The 55-year old politician shared more than 180 photos of her birthday party on Facebook terming it ‘a wonderful night of celebration with family and close friends.’

Ms Gichohi moved to Australia in 1999 and was elected in 2016 after the High Court ruled that Family First Party leader Bob Day had not been eligible to stand for election.

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