Maka fined for paying 'pittance'
Toulouse - Former Tongan and Toulouse rugby union star Finau Maka was on Tuesday given a hefty fine in France for paying an illegal Tunisian immigrant a pittance for years of housework and confiscating his passport.
An appeals court in Toulouse overturned an earlier judgement that had acquitted Maka and handed him a €2 000 fine and €5 000 in damages for taking advantage of Moncef Derbali and illegally employing him.
Maka, who starred for Tonga at the 2007 World Cup and again last year when the Tongans claimed a famous win in the pool stage over France, was accused by Derbali of making him work on the black for four years in his villa near Toulouse and to have paid him just €1 260.
Maka sent the money to Derbali's mother in Tunisia.
Derbali claimed that Maka made him live in insalubrious housing and confiscated his passport.
The state prosecutor in his summing up said Derbali was reduced to a submissive state because of his "vulnerability and his dependency" (on Maka), and lived in a "lodging not compatible with human dignity."
Derbali, who now has valid working papers for France, said he was "satisfied" with the verdict.
His lawyer said he would now take the case to an industrial tribunal to force Maka to pay his client a decent salary for the years he worked for him.