MP Troy Bell Charged Over Alleged Misuse Of Country Members Allowance
The investigation is ongoing
South Australian independent state MP Troy Bell is facing at least 50 charges in relation to the improper use of the Country Members Accommodation Allowance.
Mr Bell has confirmed he has been working with investigators as they look into the incident involving the allowance and plans to defend himself to “the fullest extent”.
The Country Members Allowance is offered to regional MPs who are required to spend the night in the city on work orders and whose home is over 75km from the city.
The allowance is paid on a nightly basis.
Stay up-to-date on the latest news with The National Briefing - keeping you in the loop with the nation’s breaking news as it hits.
The investigation has so far uncovered over $100,000 in problematic claims for the allowance since the investigation was launched last year.
The ABC recently discovered that Mr Bell had been making repayments of up to $42,728 in claimed Country Members Accommodation Allowance since 2014.
Mr Bell is not the first MP to face charges of wrongfully claiming with Fraser Ellis being charged with multiple offences after it was found he had been making repayments up to $42,130.
When asked by the ABC what charges he was facing, he admitted to knowing other MPs had faces “similar” charges.
"It is not immediately clear to me why a decision has been made to criminally charge me, and not others, or why the authorities have waited until now to serve these charges upon me," he said.
Mr Bell also confirmed that despite the allegations, he still plans to run at the Australian state election which is set to be held in March of next year.
"I remain strongly committed to my community. They are my sole priority at this time and my focus remains on their needs and how I can continue to support them,” he said.
"I have every intention of standing at the 2022 election and I want to assure my community they can have absolute trust in my words and actions as their state representative.”
Stay up-to-date on the latest news with Your Morning Agenda - supported by a network of local journalists from all major Australian cities, ensuing timely and first hand insights on local stories:
Download LiSTNR and enjoy a new world of audio. All your favourite shows and stations in one library.