Richard (left) and Charlie (right) Sharobeem as they leave the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) in Sydney. Picture Emma Partridge.Source:News Corp Australia
Richard (left) and Charlie (right) Sharobeem as they leave the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) in Sydney. Picture Emma Partridge.Source:News Corp Australia

Charity boss's son paid thousands

A CORRUPTION inquiry involving a glamorous former CEO today heard she hired and paid her sons thousands of dollars they did not clearly remember receiving.

One of former charity boss Eman Sharobeem's sons, who was hired without a formal interview process, was given the job despite not receive an HSC result because he scored in the "30 or under" category.

Charlie Sharobeem, 29, was hired to work on PowerPoint presentations but when challenged on his claim that he had an "IT background" clarified that he had "been playing with computers since I was very little".

His mother, the embattled Sydney charity boss, is expected to face tough questions from the Independent Commission against Corruption inquiry on Thursday over why she employed and paid thousands of dollars Charlie and his brother Richard, 25, while running two community organisations she is accused of ripping off.

The high profile immigrant women's advocate is being investigated over claims she misappropriated more than $600,000 in charity funds from two groups she controlled - the Immigrant Women's Health Service (WIHS) and Non-English Speaking Women's Housing Scheme (NESH).

Corruption allegations levelled against Ms Sharobeem include claiming personal expenses including more than $20,000 in diamond jewellery and $3000 to pay for her youngest son's liposuction surgery, as well as paying both her sons thousands from the companies for nothing.

Both Ms Sharobeem's sons gave evidence at ICAC on Wednesday.

Each of the brothers was paid for work at the organisations and today they answered questions on their qualifications for that work.

Taking the stand, Charlie Sharobeem told the inquiry he had completed secondary school at a Pagewood high school but did not receive a HSC score.

After school, he completed no further qualifications and worked in fast food and did "handyman work" before becoming employed at mobile company Virgin and then Optus where he has worked for 10 years.

The 29-year-old was over a period of "four years or so" paid by the IWHS, headed by his mother, to "make PowerPoint presentations" displaying the company's annual finance reports and "print it on 300-400 CDs". He would do this over a period of a few weeks each year.

Charlie Sharobeem said the work involved creating a PowerPoint presentation in which he would add headings and hyperlinks directing to word documents containing "finance reports", and "make it colourful with the logo of company" and "adding little arrows" to "make slides fade in and fade out".

When asked how the job came about, Charlie Sharobeem said he was asked to do it by his mother.

"It came as part of her initially needing to create this presentation, and I have an IT background," he said.

When counsel assisting the commission Ramesh Rajalingam asked him to detail his "IT background", he referred to his childhood spend in front of a computer screen.

Charlie Sharobeem said he did not keep time sheets to track his work on the PowerPoint projects, but his mum "would see that it took a few weeks".

The eldest Mr Sharobeem said he also did cleaning, gardening and handyman work at the organisation's Fairfield and Cabramatta offices. While initially he told the inquiry he was not paid for this work, he later conceded he did not keep track of payments, and did not know what many of the payments that landed in his bank account were for.

Mr Sharobeem was paid a total of $7750 from IWHS and said he could not explain why he had been paid.

When asked what he thought the money was for, he replied: "I don't know, we do a lot of work. It was a lot of work that just happened all the time. I never kept track to say you didn't pay me or you did pay me."

Charlie Sharobeem also said he did not know how much money was in his bank account, and said his mother had given him money and managed his finances for as long as he remembered.

"My mother my whole life has managed a lot of our money stuff," he said.

"My mother managed everything in our life."

Younger brother Richard Sharobeem had been employed formally for a period by Ms Sharobeem's other organisation beginning 2015 but said he was also paid by IWHS for "handyman work" and taking photos at IWHS events as a "facilitator" before starting at NESH.

He admitted he had received payments from IWHS but denied sometimes "thousands" was received into his account from the organisation.

When shown payments totalling more than $20,000 were made to him over just three days, Richard Sharobeem said he didn't know what he did for that money and didn't recall receiving the payments.

"I don't check my bank account," he said.

Timesheets showing the hours Richard Sharobeem was paid for by IWHS for work as a facilitator were shown to the inquiry, but call records from his mobile phone showed he was paid for hours where he had been at other locations, including on a family holiday and to a shopping centre, that were not related to his work.

Mr Sharobeem said he didn't keep his own timesheets and if he provided information about when he worked "it would have been approximate".

He denied he knew that at $30 per hour he was being paid a higher rate than anyone else at the company, excluding his mother and the bookkeeper.

Richard Sharobeem became employed by NESH in January 2015 in a job the woman he reported to, project manager Nevine Ghaly, said he had no relevant qualifications for.

Appearing before ICAC on Wednesday, Ms Ghaly said Ms Sharobeem had told her that Richard would be employed by the organisation and would report to her.

He went by the name Richard Shawky in his work email and employment contract, which Ms Ghaly said Ms Sharobeem had insisted on but conceded that should not have been allowed.

Ms Ghaly also admitted she did not advertise the role Richard Sharobeem took at NESH and that no one was interviewed for the position as part of the hiring process.

"She (Ms Sharobeem) told me it's best that FACS don't see as if I've employed my son," she said.

"I might have done the wrong thing but I was really motivated by doing the job on the ground."

Ms Ghaly told the hearing Richard was "not very motivated for a young man" and described him as having a poor work ethic.

She said he would show up only two days a week when he was employed full time, and was difficult to manage.

A copy of Mr Sharobeem's CV was shown to the inquiry, which was sent to Ms Ghaly after he had been in the role of several months. She said it showed he had no relevant qualifications.

The document showed he had previously worked as a cleaner, office assistant, and a "help hand" at a pharmacy among various jobs and said his career objective was "to gain employment in the professional industry and enter a career path while learning and understanding the industry, and to rise in the professional world".

Richard Sharobeem's CV also claimed he held a Bachelor of Business from Griffith University.

The inquiry was told he had begun a criminology degree, but failed every subject and didn't complete it.

Of Mr Sharobeem's performance, Ms Ghaly said: "He didn't show initiative or a caring aspect about the job."

"I kept assisting as much as I can but I just didn't feel that he was ignited by any part of the job," she said.

As well as being paid an award salary of about $50,000 by NESH, Richard Sharobeem had access to a black Honda Civic paid for by the company which he drove to and from work, kept at his house, and was said to have treated like his own.

He was also given a $5670 Suzuki motorcycle by his mother which was partly paid for with charity funds.

When Mr Sharobeem was asked about the purchase of the bike he said he couldn't recall if he went with his mother to buy the bike.

"Did you go together?" Mr Rajalingam asked.

Mr Sharobeem replied: "I can't recall."

When the inquiry was shown a picture of Mr Sharobeem proudly seated on a red Suzuki motorcycle at the Action motorcycle dealership, he was asked: "Is that you?"

"Yes," Mr Sharobeem said.

Richard Sharobeem was not asked about the liposuction surgery he received at Westmead Hospital that his mother had reimbursed through NESH.

Ms Sharobeem has denied allegations of wrongdoing throughout the investigation, and has consistently claimed she was framed by Ms Ghaly.

Ms Ghaly today denied this.

The inquiry has also heard that Ms Sharobeem lied about being a child bride and a psychologist, and that she used the title Dr without ever being awarded that title.

The inquiry continues tomorrow when Ms Sharobeem and her husband Haiman Hammo will give evidence.

News Corp Australia

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