Hindu Vivek Kendra
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Oxfam probes new claims its staff used prostitutes, issued death threats and committed fraud in the Congo

Author: Elliot Mulligan
Publication: Dailymail.co
Date: April 2, 2021
URL:   https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9429043/Oxfam-probes-new-claims-staff-used-prostitutes-issued-death-threats-Congo.html

The charity suspended two aid workers last week and has commissioned a probe

It is into accusations against senior managers in Democratic Republic of Congo

The probe is into 'allegations of intimidation, death threats, fraud and nepotism'

Whistleblowers say they raised concerns about alleged misconduct since 2015

Oxfam is under investigation over new allegations of sexual exploitation just weeks after it was cleared to apply for government aid funds again following the Haiti scandal.

The charity suspended two aid workers last week and has commissioned an independent investigation into accusations against senior managers in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), The Times reported.

The inquiry, which began in November last year, reportedly concerns allegations of intimidation, death threats, fraud, and nepotism.

But whistleblowers have said they raised concerns about the alleged misconduct as far back as 2015.

Oxfam has been operating in the DRC since 1961. The charity employs 273 staff whose work concentrates mainly water and sanitation projects among vulnerable communities.

The latest allegations are written in a ten-page letter sent to the charity's leaders in Oxford in February.

The letter makes various allegations about 11 individuals and is signed by 20 former and current Oxfam staff.

The letter says: 'We hope that the DRC does not become another example of Oxfam's failure to prevent power abuses following the Haiti media exposé in 2018 and Oxfam's explicit commitment to do better.'

In February Oxfam was released from strict supervision by the charity watchdog following 'significant' reforms after the Haiti aid workers sex abuse scandal.

In 2018 it emerged that some Oxfam workers had engaged in 'sex parties' with prostitutes after the 2010 Haiti earthquake disaster.

Four employees were fired for 'gross misconduct' and three others, including the charity director in Haiti Roland Van Hauwermeiren, left the charity.

Oxfam later offered its 'humblest apologies' to Haiti.

In the aftermath of the scandal thousands of people stopped making regular donations to the charity, which was founded in 1942.

The Foreign Office said that it was aware of Oxfam's investigation and added: 'All organisations bidding for UK aid must meet the high standards of safeguarding we require and do everything in their power to keep the people they work with safe.'

An Oxfam spokesman said: 'We can confirm we have suspended two members of Oxfam staff in the DRC as part of an ongoing external investigation, which we set up last November, into allegations of abuses of power, including bullying and sexual misconduct.

'We are acutely aware of our duty to survivors, including in supporting them to speak out safely.'

They added: 'We are working hard to conclude the investigation fairly, safely and effectively.'


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