Oxfam funding at risk as charity accused of lying in Haiti scandal

Penny Lawrence- Oxfam

In a statement on Friday, Oxfam neither confirmed nor denied The Times newspaper report but said its misconduct findings had "related to offences including bullying, harassment, intimidation and failure to protect staff as well as sexual misconduct".

According to The Observer, women were repeatedly invited "for parties" at Oxfam's team premises.

The Charity Commission said on Saturday that it had written to Oxfam "as a matter of urgency" to request further information.

A lot of people knew about this, she told Sky News, naming the Charity Commission and DFID (Department for International Development). She added: "If the moral leadership at the top of the organisation isn't there, then we cannot have you as a partner".

Oxfam said it investigated the allegations in 2011.

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It is a "complete betrayal of both the people Oxfam were there to help and also the people that sent them there to do that job", Britain's worldwide development secretary, Penny Mordaunt, told BBC News, which noted that the nonprofit received $44 million in government funds a year ago.

Oxfam said it had no report of the Chad allegations, but had introduced steps to prevent sexual exploitation of the vulnerable people they deal with after the Haiti revelations.

'We also want to satisfy ourselves that we do now have a culture of openness and transparency and that we fully learn the lessons of events in 2011'.

Caroline Thompson, who chairs Oxfam Great Britain's board of trustees, said charities that work in "fragile and unstable environments can become targets for abusers", but that the organization is committed to fixing the problems it faces.

The United Kingdom's Department for International Development sharply criticized the charity for its lack of transparency as questions swirled about how much detail Oxfam provided when it first reported the allegations.

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Oxfam said it could not corroborate the latest claims but it said it was "shocked and dismayed" at what it called the unacceptable behaviour by a small number of people.

But as well as being a public relations disaster for Oxfam, the scandal could cost them $50 million in government funding.

And the Guardian reported new accusations over the weekend: that the same man, Roland van Hauwermeiren, was also accused of hiring sex workers in Chad.

"Unfortunately, there is nothing we can do to stop individuals falsifying references, getting others that were dismissed to act as referees and claiming it was a reference from Oxfam", a spokeswoman added. It said significant improvements have already been made since 2011. The charity employs 5,000 staff and has a further 23,000 volunteers. Asked if that was a lie, Mordaunt said: "Well, quite".

"It doesn't matter whether you've got a whistleblowing hotline, it doesn't matter if you've got good safeguarding practices in place". "What is so disturbing about Oxfam is that when this was reported to them, they completely failed to do the right thing", she said.

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