Liberal senator Lucy Gichuhi has blamed an “administrative error” on charging taxpayers thousands of dollars to waft family from Darwin to Adelaide for her “50th birthday (Plus GST)” party.
As first reported by The Sunday Telegraph, Gichuhi charged taxpayers $2,139 for two return flights to Adelaide from Darwin under family travel costs in October final year.
Gichuhi’s “50th (Plus GST) Birthday Party” was held at Rydges in Adelaide, according to a post on her Facebook page, and was for family and friends. Former senator Bob Day appeared in the photos — Gichuhi replaced Day in the Senate after he was found ineligible to be elected.
In response to the report, Gichuhi – who is 55 – tweeted on Sunday that the claim was an “administrative error” and would be repaid.
The Daily Telegraph reported on Monday that Gichuhi had also claimed thousands in travel as “electorate commerce, trade” for attending events in Sydney, current South Wales, despite being a senator for South Australia. Gichuhi has reportedly defended these claims, stating that they are within the guidelines.
Gichuhi, who is known for sparking a meme in response to a question, joined the Liberal Party earlier this year, after sitting as an independent. When she joined the party, the backbencher was given a committee to chair, and a moment committee where she is the deputy chair.
As a result Gichuhi’s pay is more than that of a regular backbencher. In addition to the base salary of $203,000, Gichuhi earns another $40,000 per year for chairing a committee.
That base salary apparently wasn’t enough for the senator. In footage from an interview on Kenyan TV earlier this year that was shared widely on Twitter over the weekend, Gichuhi said $200,000 per year wasn’t a lot of money.
In a copy of her speech for her 55th birthday bash, Gichuhi said one of the biggest lessons she had learnt was to be humble.
“Fifty plus GST is a very primary birthday for me and I occupy now also taught you to deduct 10% off your own age — whether you want to!”