Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 31 July 2014

Gamu mother 'did not claim credits'

X Factor hopeful Gamu Nhengu has been told she must leave the UK voluntarily or face deportation
Locals gather in Tillicoultry, Clackmannanshire, where X Factor contestant Gamu Nhengu lives to give her support
Neighbours of Gamu Nhengu in Tillicoultry, Clackmannanshire, show their support for the X Factor star

The mother of X Factor reject Gamu Nhengu did not wrongly claim tax credits, the family's solicitor has said as the budding singer faces deportation to Zimbabwe.

The 18-year-old, eliminated from the ITV show at the weekend despite being a huge hit with fans, was told she must return to her homeland after her mother's visa application was turned down.

Nokuthula Ngazana was allowed to stay in the UK while she studied at university and Gamu was told she could remain in the country as her dependent, but Ms Ngazana's application to remain in the country was turned down following allegations she wrongly claimed working tax credits.

This was denied by her solicitor Frances Farrell, who said the family "strongly refuted" the claims.

Ms Farrell told BBC Radio Five Live: "There was a slight error with the bank details and the Home Office led us to believe this was no longer a problem.

"I was fully expecting the application to be granted and then on Tuesday night the Home Office phoned my office after working hours and their representative said that the application was being refused because Nokuthula had claimed tax credits when she was not eligible to do so. This is disputed and no other reason was made for the refusal.

"Our client's position is that she was advised by the Inland Revenue she was entitled to claim working tax credits as she was paying tax. It was all done absolutely above board."

Ms Farrell said she had still not received the Home Office's decision in writing and that details about the benefits claims were leaked to the press.

The solicitor said she was now seeking a judicial review and was told the family had a strong case.

Ms Farrell added: "It has caused my client, Gamu and her siblings all great distress. My client has had to take the children out of school and they have been under siege all day. It's been horrendous for them."

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