Allegations Murray Edwards President involved in Oxfam scandal

Glen Norman
February 10, 2018

The use of prostitutes by Oxfam staff in Haiti was described yesterday by Liz Truss, the former justice secretary, as "shocking, sickening and depressing".

They claimed staff had recorded videos of the night, but Oxfam said no recording had been submitted to the investigation.

The organisation, one of Britain's largest charities, also revealed four members of staff were dismissed as a result of its investigation and three others resigned before it concluded.

In early August 2011, it was reported a "small number" of employees were being investigated over allegations of gross misconduct. Oxfam has, however, claimed it did in fact disclose this to the charities regulator.

The 2010 Haiti quake left enormous numbers of people dead and many more struggling for necessities like drinking water.

The scandal has cast a negative light over Oxfam's work in Haiti.

According to the British newspaper The Times, Oxfam employees hired young prostitutes in Haiti in 2011 during a mission following the natural disaster that ravaged the country in 2010, killing almost 300,000 people.

A Charity Commission spokeswoman said it was engaged with Oxfam on more recent allegations of sexual harassment, reported widely previous year, and has demanded that the charity provide details of the claims in Haiti.

"The misconduct findings related to offenses including bullying, harassment, intimidation and failure to protect staff as well as sexual misconduct", Oxfam said in its statement Friday. However, the charity's internal investigation was still ongoing.

As part of that, we have already asked the charity to review historic safeguarding allegations and its response to them at the time.

In a statement, it said: "The behaviour of some members of Oxfam staff uncovered in Haiti in 2011 was totally unacceptable, contrary to our values and the high standards we expect of our staff".

"We will expect the charity to provide us with assurance that it has learnt lessons from past incidents and is taking all necessary steps to safeguard all who come into contact with it".

Oxfam said it launched an internal investigation immediately in 2011 which established the existence of a "culture of impunity" among some of the staff.

An Oxfam spokesman said: 'This was not a cover-up. It is nearly as shocking that the most senior employee implicated in the scandal was not only allowed to resign without censure but was subsequently hired by another charity with no warning from Oxfam about his past conduct.

"Oxfam treats any allegation of misconduct extremely seriously".

Oxfam insisted allegations that underage girls may have been involved were not proven.

'The country director took full responsibility for events that took place under his management and was permitted to resign on the basis that he fully cooperated with and supported the investigation.

And it said it created a whistleblower hotline and a separate team to help better prevent misconduct in the future.

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