South Korea has summoned one of its senior diplomats in Ethiopia over allegations of rape by a female staff member. The high-ranking diplomat was ordered to return to Seoul immediately.
The government has promised a full investigation and the diplomat is expected to face “a no tolerance policy in mind, of heavy punishment and even a case to the prosecution for criminal investigations if the allegations are confirmed.”
“Bowing low, the ministry offers the most sincere apology to the people, holding itself deeply responsible for the sex crime committed by a diplomat in Ethiopia,” South Korean foreign ministry spokesman, Cho June-Hyuck said in a statement.
The diplomat flew out of Addis on Thursday, July 13, following the alleged victim, who departed on Tuesday. The contracted 20-something employee was allegedly raped on Sunday at the diplomats’ residence, alerted her mother immediately and was treated at the Korean Hospital and flew home in mere days.
The diplomat, “Mr. Lee” (The Reporter was not able to get information on his full name), was the political director at the embassy and is said to have several people working under his supervision. He allegedly hosted his subordinate at his residence over bottles of wine to help celebrate a project that was recently completed and which the young alleged victim had made a contribution.
She has alleged, according to multiple reports, to have awakened in his bed semi-naked in the wee hours of the night and she could not recall how she had ended up there. The diplomat has also said he was “too drunk to remember what happened.”
The Reporter reached out to the South Korean Embassy in Addis Ababa.
“This is a South Korean matter, not an Ethiopian matter and we wish not comment further,” Il Park, the Deputy Mission and Minister Councilor at the Embassy told The Reporter. “The investigation is ongoing and it will be completed in a short while.”
Moonhawan Kim, the South Korean ambassador to Ethiopia is currently out of the country and is expected to return next week.
By Samuel Getachew