Unpaid wages, reports of ill-treatment, undeclared work and false invoices, reports of suspicious transactions. There is everything in the complex affair (judicial and otherwise) involving the Karibu social cooperative and the aid consortiumtwo third sector entities that deal with “reception and integration services on the territory of asylum seekers, political refugees and immigrants”, administered in various capacities by Marie Therese Mukamitsindo And Liliane Murekateteboth Rwandans, respectively mother-in-law and wife of the new deputy of the Green and Left Alliance Aboubakar Soumahoro. A case detonated by the union’s complaint to the Prefecture Uiltucsfollowing which the Latina prosecutor’s office opened two parallel investigations. However, they are not the only ones to concern the mother-in-law of the former trade unionist of the farm workers, awarded in 2018 by the former president of the Chamber Laura Boldrini as “foreign entrepreneur of the year”.
Unpaid wages – Let’s go in order, starting with the most recent case. In June 2022, 24 employees of Karibu and Aid (who are based at the same address, moreover the same as the “Lega Braccianti” of Soumahoro) turned to the secretary of Uiltucs Latina, Gianfranco Cartisanodenouncing that they have not been paid for very long periods, up to 22 months. Two others, on the other hand, say they have worked in black for the deputy’s mother-in-law: to get paid, they say, they were asked to procure fake invoices to be issued by external companies, in order to justify the payments. With the assistance of the union, on July 1, the 24 employees arrive at one conciliation with the coops before the Labor Inspectorate of Latina, which ascertains a total of 400 thousand euros of unpaid salaries and approves a deferred payment plan. However, that commitment it is not respected for whole months. So Uiltucs turns to the Prefecture of Latina, asking it to block the payments of commissions to the cooperatives and transfer that money directly to the workers. And on November 10, the dues to the first four employees of Aid, for a total of around fifty thousand euros.
Reports of abuse – During the various meetings in the Prefecture, however, another front opens up. The union carries the testimonials of some guests, including minors, of the structures managed by the two cooperatives in the Pontine area as part of the widespread reception project Sprar (Protection system for asylum seekers and refugees). What emerges is a gloomy picture of young migrants who tell of being left without current, water, food and clothes: “The food was not good and there was no water or electricity. Then they locked up this house because there was no money”, the testimony of Ziyad, 16 years. “There was always little food and the kids were hungry. The conditions were bad, they didn’t buy clothes to the guys. When guests arrived they were given overalls, pajamas, shoes, underpants and a jacket. Then that’s it. They had to go out and work so they could get dressed,” she told Republic a 36-year-old who worked in one of the facilities as a cook. “On food, they said we had to make do with what little they brought. Then, without warning us, they sent the boys to other structures in Naples, Frosinone and also in Calabria”, says another worker. She wasn’t guaranteed even the so-called “pocketmoney” from ten euros a day: “They hardly ever gave those kids the so-called pocket money, when they were transferred they hadn’t seen it for four months”.
The investigations and the Sos – On the basis of these and other stories, the Prosecutor opens two files: one, entrusted to the Guardia di Finanza, hypothesizes the fraud against the state and other tax crimes, the other (without the hypothesis of a crime) concerns the alleged ill-treatment in the structures, which are being investigated by the Carabinieri. Proceedings that go hand in hand with an investigation for embezzlement of public disbursements opened in 2019 (and still in progress) towards Soumahoro’s mother-in-law, born from a blitz by the Labor Inspectorate in one of the Karibu structures (of which he is chairman of the board of directors). Also, as you wrote The truthseveral suspicious transaction reportsin one of which it was assumed that a total flow of 145 thousand euros “originating from Karibu and relating to salaries and advance repayments” was actually used for personal expenses.
The defence – The woman has always justified the missed payments to the employees, and the dilapidated conditions of the structures, with the fact that the cooperatives are the first were not paid by public bodies for the contracts entrusted to them. “We have no money to give him because the state does not pay us on time: between bureaucracy and Covid, the funds arrived even after a year and a half. (…) My mistake was not firing them earlier. When we realized that the state advances were arriving too late, I should have had the courage to do so, but I’ve known them for twenty years and I preferred to wait,” he told Republic. A version that does not convince Cartisano: “Many of these orders come from Ministry of Interiori.e. from the Prefecture. Which in our meetings ensured that there was none on their part No delays. But regardless of this, it seems absurd to me that a public body can not pay for a project for 22 months ”, he tells the fattoquotidiano.it. In the interview, Mukamitsindo also claimed that the boys who reported the mistreatment had never complained to them, suggesting that they were “manipulated by the union, who went to them.” “We do not accept insinuations: the union has dedicated itself exclusively to protecting the rights of male and female workers and all our actions have been taken in their exclusive interest. The complaints we have received have arrived spontaneously by workers in serious difficulty for not having received their salary for many months”, is the response of the local Uiltucs secretary.