(AU.BUSINESSINSIDER) — In 2009, Sam Eisho walked into the Centrelink office at Maroubra and tried to give the staff a cheque for more than $18,000.

Told to line up at the end of the claims queue, he attempted to explain that he was there to pay back what he felt he owed the Australian Government.

The amount was equivalent to all the welfare payments he received between 1999 and 2001, when he first arrived here and before he started the construction company he’s successfully built.

He’d come a long way since he was nearly killed at an Iraqi checkpoint, fleeing Saddam Hussein’s regime.

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