Tonga’s Maka denies ‘slavery’ charge
Toulouse number 8 Finau Maka has strongly denied a charge of `modern
slavery’ levelled by a Tunisian national who lodged at his home in
Toulouse for over three years.
The Tongan backrower, who was placed in police custody for 24 hours
last week in connection with the case, was speaking publicly for the
first time about the affair here Monday.
He told a press conference that the Tunisian man, whom he referred to
as Anis, asked him for help when he carried out renovation work on the
rugby star’s house in 2006.
“He was homeless, he begged me to help him - he had no family in
France, no money, no shelter - he was an unqualified illegal immigrant.
“As a Tongan it is a part of our culture to care and help people in
Maka said that for the first four months he put Anis up in his house.
“He was allocated a bedroom on the bottom floor.
“We asked him to leave. He wanted to remain in our residence. At the
back of our house there is a pool house, Anis asked to sleep there
instead of leaving.
“We never forced Anis to do anything out of his will: I accepted his
choice and gave him a hand to create a bed in the pool house.
“From November 2006 to February 2010 he went back and forth from our
I treated and loved this man as if he was my brother.
“He performed some work including painting.....it was not specialised
work, it was help: no one forced him to work against his will. Our
relationship was mutual aid. He never worked on a consistent basis, not
“Anis was free to come and go when he pleased to.
“He asked for more and more money, his behaviour became rather
“In February we asked him nicely to leave because we would be moving
out of our house. He left, but called every day for help and to come
back. In April he threatened to go to a court.”
According to an interview published Saturday in the Depeche du Midi
newspaper the accuser declared that ``I was Finau’s slave for four
years, I escaped in February”.
Last week investigating magistrate Michel Valet told AFP: ``I
received a complaint lodged for modern slavery and dated April 29 in the
name of a person who said they were a victim (of Maka). I ordered a
police investigation, there are still inquiries to be made, the
investigation is continuing.”
According to reports on French newspaper Le Parisien’s website Maka
was questioned on the conditions in which he had employed and lodged a
Maka, 33, won the European Cup this month despite not actually
playing for Toulouse in the final in his last season for the team.
He was one of the personalities of the 2007 World Cup with his
distinctive afro hairstyle and combative style of play.