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Former charity CEO’s corruption inquiry continues

“I was overworked and underpaid.”

Former Australian of the year state finalist Eman Sharobeem has told a corruption inquiry any accounting mistakes she made as the head of a Sydney charity were a result of being “underpaid and overworked”.

Sharobeem on Tuesday faced a second round of NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption hearings into allegations she rorted more than half a million dollars from two charities.

The former head of the Immigrant Women’s Health Service (IWHS) and the Non-English Speaking Housing Women’s Scheme continued to deny she used the funds on holidays and luxury items, as she returned to the witness box.

“I was underpaid and overworked so if any wrongdoing happened … it’s not because it’s my intention, it’s because I was overstretched,” she told the commission in Sydney on Tuesday.

“And I was also doing a lot of volunteer work, I don’t want you to feel that I did this deliberately.”

Sharobeem told the inquiry she was the only full-time worker at the IWHS and cited “the size of things required of me as a human being” as she became flustered 15 minutes into the hearing.

Sharobeem is accused of being fraudulently reimbursed for an $8900 holiday club membership she used for personal trips.

The commission was shown a hand-written note by Sharobeem to a bookkeeper in which she claimed an $8990 receipt was for “the handyman who established the new service for multicultural mix elder group in Bankstown”.

Sharobeem, who demanded the money within two months, couldn’t remember why the two amounts were the same.

“When you put them together you appear as though you’re trying to say they’re linked,” she said.

“They’re not linked.”

Sharobeem contradicted her evidence from the previous month that at least one client used the holiday club membership, but she insisted it was offered to clients.

“My memory is not that sharp, seriously,” she said on Tuesday.

“I have been through a lot.”

Sharobeem now denies she was chief executive officer of the IWHS, claiming she was given the title merely for “prestige” and was never treated as one.

“I was doing everything and anything in the organisation,” she said.

The hearing continues.

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