Unpaid wages taint Lebanon's reputation as the embassy closes in Ukraine

Press Highlights
2023-06-03 | 01:03
High views
Share
LBCI
Share
LBCI
Whatsapp
facebook
Twitter
Messenger
telegram
telegram
print
Unpaid wages taint Lebanon's reputation as the embassy closes in Ukraine
Whatsapp
facebook
Twitter
Messenger
telegram
telegram
print
4min
Unpaid wages taint Lebanon's reputation as the embassy closes in Ukraine

In February 2022, the Foreign Affairs Ministry decided to close the Lebanese embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine, which opened the "Pandora's Box" of scandals surrounding the embassy's operations in Ukraine.

Primarily, the closure was not due to the war affecting the country but rather due to an embezzlement case involving approximately $320,000 from the embassy's funds, which is still under investigation by the judiciary.

This article is originally published in, translated from Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar.
On that day, the Foreign Affairs Ministry sent an envoy to Kyiv to carry out the necessary procedures to close the embassy, including notifying five Ukrainian employees handling administrative and consular affairs at the embassy after the resignation of Lebanese employees that they would be terminated.

However, these employees have not yet received their salaries, pending since April 2022, amounting to 11 months, April 2022 - February 2023. Their repeated inquiries to the embassy and the Foreign Affairs Ministry have not yielded any results.

As a result, they resorted to a Ukrainian law firm two weeks ago to initiate legal proceedings against the Lebanese Foreign Affairs Ministry to claim their salaries and due compensation under Ukrainian criminal and labor laws.

Upon the law firm's request, the employees sent a letter on May 22 to the Foreign Affairs Minister, Abdallah Bou Habib, and the ministry's Secretary-General, Hani Chmaytelli, inquiring about the date of payment of their dues and informing them of the provisions of Ukrainian labor and criminal laws regarding their remuneration and unpaid salaries.

Despite the three-day deadline given to the ministry to receive a response under Ukrainian laws, they have not received any reply.

"This is not the first time that the administration in Beirut has failed to respond to their correspondence," according to sources close to the employees who spoke to "Al-Akhbar," blaming Chmaytelli as the direct manager within the administrative after Ambassador Ali Daher was placed in charge due to the investigation into the embezzlement of embassy funds, which derive from fees for renewing passports of Lebanese expatriates and agencies, as well as fees for marriage contracts and others.

The law firm's immediate actions revealed a new scandal, as the embassy in Kyiv had not been paying the income taxes required for each Ukrainian employee in accordance with Ukrainian labor law, despite some employees working at the embassy since 2006. This significant violation strengthens the legal position of the employees, enabling them to expand their demands for overdue salaries, compensations, unpaid taxes, and potentially even fines.

In Beirut, the same response has been repeated for the past two months, affirming the ministry's intention to make the payment and justifying the delay at times with the excuse that "the administrative process of the file is ongoing" and at other times with the claim that "the minister is out of the country."

Sources within the Foreign Affairs Ministry informed "Al-Akhbar" that the amount to be sent, including salaries and compensations, has been completed and will be transferred to the Lebanese embassy in Poland, where former employees can collect it.

Lebanon News

Press Highlights

Unpaid

Wages

Taint

Lebanon

Reputation

Embassy

Close

Ukraine

LBCI Next
Jihad Azour's nomination ignites tension in presidential file amid grim outlook for Lebanon
Jihad Azour's presidential campaign: Expanding parliamentary support
LBCI Previous
Download now the LBCI mobile app
To see the latest news, the latest daily programs in Lebanon and the world
Google Play
App Store
We use
cookies
We use cookies to make
your experience on this
website better.
Accept
Learn More