Convicted cancer conwoman Belle Gibson has been shown in a social media video attending an event for Ethiopia’s Oromo community in Melbourne while wearing a headscarf and using a different name.
- Belle Gibson claimed she had been cured of cancer by alternative therapies, but did not have the disease
- She owes more than $500,000 in fines, leading to her house being raided on Wednesday
- She says she has been “adopted” by an Ethiopian community, but its members say they were unaware of her past
In the video, Gibson appeared to tell the interviewer her name was Sabontu while speaking in the Oromo language, before switching to English.
“My heart is deeply embedded in the Oromo people, I feel blessed to be adopted by you,” she said.
The video was shot after a political meeting in Flemington in October for that community, which about 100 people attended.
Gibson fraudulently made hundreds of thousands of dollars from apps, cookbooks and social media after claiming alternative therapies and nutrition cured her of brain cancer.
It was later revealed she never had the disease.
Gibson was found guilty of misleading and deceptive conduct and was fined $410,000 in 2017.
She has failed to pay more than $500,000 in penalties and interest, which prompted the Victorian Sherriff’s Office to raid her Northcote home on Wednesday.
Members of Melbourne’s Oromo community have told the ABC they were unaware of Gibson’s real identity until Wednesday’s raid on her property made the news.
The ABC understands she has also attended other Oromo community social gatherings.
In the October social media video, Gibson said she had been involved in the Oromo community for four years and started as a volunteer.
“I think this was a gift, a blessing that was given to me both by your people but also a blessing [from] our Lord, from Allah,” she told the interviewer in the video.
“I see no difference between your struggle and the struggle I have fighting for the liberation of Oromo,” Gibson told the man interviewing her.
“When the struggle is shared it is lifted from you.”
Gibson then advised people campaigning for the Oromo people on how to go about their work.
“Defend yourself, defend your honour and defend your identity, sleep with one eye open.”
In June last year, the Federal Court in Melbourne heard Gibson had spent about $91,000 between 2017 and 2019 while claiming she could not pay her fines.
In that time she went on trips to Bali and Africa.
Gibson had previously said she went to East Africa on a holiday, which was a gift from a mysterious roommate named “Clive.”