Eman Sharobeem's story was always devastating and hopeful beyond belief.

The glamorous CEO, often seen draped in sophisticated animal print, teetering on heels, and always perfectly made up, was a picture of confidence and professionalism.

While she would easily have slotted in to a cutthroat business environment, Dr Sharobeem, as she called herself, was warm and caring. Her generous advocacy and counselling work at the Immigrant Women's Health Service in Australia added a softness to her image that beamed out whenever you were around her.

But her charisma and career success masked a dark past - not a secret one, as she frequently discussed it in media interviews.


Dr Sharobeem had overcome great challenges to reach the top of her game in Sydney, she said. Like the young immigrant women she helped, she had been a child bride, forced to marry her first cousin when she was 14, or 15 and a half, or 18, depending on which interviews you read or listened to.

That was the problem with Ms Sharobeem's story - it turned out she had no qualifications that earnt her the title Dr - it was never consistent.

Eman's story began to unravel when questions were asked about her use of public funds while she was chief executive officer at the not-for-profit Immigrant Women's Health Services in Fairfield, and also worked at the Non-English Speaking Housing Women's Scheme.

After being recognised for her advocacy work she became well-known as a prominent advocate for women's rights, and was a familiar voice in commentary around violence against women, female genital mutilation, and forced marriage.

She was even listed as a finalist in the Australian of the Year Awards and later became employed by SBS as the government-backed station's national community engagement manager.

After being dragged before New South Wales' independent Commission for Corruption (ICAC), Sharobeem has taken a hard fall.

She is accused of misappropriating more than A$685,000 ($718,500) in funds, and acting corruptly in her roles in the two not-for-profit organisations. Recent reports have claimed that Ms Sharobeem transferred A$500,000 to family back in Egypt after the sale of a Sydney property.

The allegation, published by Fairfax Media, comes as Sharobeem prepares to face the women she has accused of "framing" her when her ICAC hearing resumes this week.

Since hearings into alleged misappropriation commenced in April, she's faced allegations of submitting fake invoices and claiming reimbursements for personal expenses including A$11,000 in cosmetic surgery - A$3000 for her son's liposuction.

Eman Sharobeem arrives at the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) in Sydney. Photo / AAP
Eman Sharobeem arrives at the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) in Sydney. Photo / AAP

The corruption watchdog has also been told she spent part of the funds on a A$20,000 diamond necklace, a decorative fountain for her home, three diamond rings and numerous hair appointments.

She defended charging more than A$34,000 in traffic fines to the IWHS saying "mistakes happen driving". She has also been questioned over her two sons' employment at the charities.

In revealing exchanges in hearings that ran between April and June this year, Sharobeem was caught out over her claims around the age at which she claimed to have been forced to marry, and her qualifications.

"When were you born, Ms Sharobeem?" counsel assisting the inquiry Ramesh Rajalingam asked.

"The birth certificate indicate that it's 3 June, '63," she replied.

"Is that the date you understand you were born?" Rajalingam asked.

"That's the birth certificate, yes."

Later in the same grilling Sharobeem was asked in which year she married her first husband, an event she had previously claimed took place when she was as young as 14.

"When did you meet your first husband?" Rajalingam asked.

"He was my first cousin, so I met him at birth. And I, I knew of him since I was a little child," she replied.

"Did you marry him?" Rajalingam asked.

"It is, yes."

"When did that happen?'

"It could be 1984. I think 1984."

According to her own admission, Sharobeem would have been 21 or 22.

When it came to why she appropriated the title Dr, Sharobeem said she had been given two honorary PhDs, neither of which evidence could be found for, and said she was encouraged by a journalist to use the title.

Neither of the universities Ms Sharobeem claimed to have received honorary degrees from have confirmed her claims.

Ms Sharobeem's hearing has previously been adjourned due to concerns for her wellbeing.

At one appearance she broke down, shouting "I"ve been framed ... I want to die".

Her counsel Arjun Chhabra expressed concern over "the health and condition of Ms Sharobeem".

But the hearing is set to continue this week where a close colleague, Nevine Ghaly is expected to give evidence.

Evidence presented to ICAC revealed Ms Sharobeem thought it was possible Ms Ghaly, a former co-ordinator of NESH, had framed her.

The hearing is scheduled to resume 12 July.