Ethiopian Dr. Yonas Tegegn of the World Health Organisation, seen here while receiving a five-million baht donation to WHO from Foreign Minister Tanasak Patimapragorn last September. (Photo: Chiang Rai Times)
11 Apr 2015
An Ethiopian housemaid who claimed her employer Dr Yonas Tegegn, the World Health Organisation’s representative to Thailand, treated her like a slave, made false allegations, police say.
Dr Tegegn and his wife reported to Pak Kret police in Nonthaburi yesterday, Pol Col Mana Tienmaungpak said.
The Ethiopian couple earlier faced claims they had treated their former housemaid, Annet, as a slave.
Dr Tegegn however gave documents to police as proof that Annet was treated as a family member. The papers included receipts of dental and mobile phone service fees Dr Tegegn had paid for Annet, which showed she was free to go out and communicate with others, Pol Col Mana said.
Five witnesses, two foreign neighbours and three guards were questioned, said Pol Col Mana. All said the housemaid lived freely in the house.
Dr Tegegn said he decided to terminate Annet’s contract which ends on June 13 as he wanted a better maid. But Annet ran away, Pol Col Mana said.
He also told police that a lawyer who claimed to represent Annet asked for 500,000 baht in mid-March after she ran away. She then went to file a complaint with police after he refused to pay.
Dr Tegegn also told police they did not keep her passport but she must have forgotten it when she fled.
After questioning, the employers also left US$4,300 (about 139,000 baht), an air ticket to Ethiopia, and Annet’s passport with police to give to Annet.
No charges have been filed so far, but Annet may face charges related to her expired visa to Thailand and filing false claims to incriminate others, Pol Col Mana said. Annet could not be reached for comment yesterday.