An Ethiopian woman who works as a cleaner at the Qatar National Convention Center (QNCC) has been rewarded after turning in two diamond rings worth QR470,000 (US$129,000) that were left behind in a bathroom at the venue.
Andnet Zelekew, a 32-year-old woman who has been working at the QNCC since 2011, received a cash award from convention center management last week for her honesty.
In a statement, QNCC General Manager Ken Jamieson said:
“I applaud and thank Ms. Zelekew for her honesty and rectitude. QNCC believes in fostering a working environment that is loyal, secure and trusting. For this reason, we believe that our employees always display exceptional integrity.
By returning the diamond rings to their grateful owner, our valued employee has displayed the traits which we as an organization, hold in the highest regard.”
The rings were lost in February, during the Doha Jewelry and Watches Exhibition.
In a statement to Doha News, Zelekew said that when she found the jewelry, the first thing she thought about “was the owner and how she would feel.”
She then called the assistant manager and turned in the rings immediately.
“Even for two minutes, I didn’t hold it in my hand, (because it still had) the price tag,” she said.
This isn’t the first time Zelekew, the first female member of custodial staff to join the QNCC, has faced such circumstances.
In her previous job at Al Mukhtar Cleaning company in Qatar, she said she found a “valuable diamond wedding ring” that the owner left in the bathroom that she also turned in.
“She was very pleased and appreciated me,” she said. “I believe in my life that honesty is the best policy.”
A QNCC spokesperson declined to tell Doha News how the amount of cash Zelekew was awarded.
The spokesperson added that incidents like this have occurred before at QNCC, where the staff is “honest and loyal,” but that this incident stands out due to the high value of the jewelry that was found.
Qatar’s relationship with Ethiopia has improved in the past couple years, after a diplomatic squabble in 2008 temporarily ceased communication between the nations.
According to local publication BQ Doha, more than 21,000 Ethiopian expats were living in Qatar in 2013.
However, last year, the country temporarily banned its female nationals from working as domestic helpers here and in other GCC states over human rights concerns.
An official at the Ethiopian Embassy here previously told Doha News that the government is working to develop minimum salary standards and set working hours for Ethiopian workers, in a bid to reduce incidences of “people trafficking.”