Tuesday, September 25, 2018, 08:02:15 PM

Oxfam deputy chief resigns over sex scandal

International Desk | banglanews24.com
Update: 2018-02-12 10:57:13 PM
Oxfam deputy chief resigns over sex scandal
Penny Lawrence (Photo: collected)

DHAKA: Oxfam's deputy chief executive has resigned over the handling of a sex scandal involving aid workers, reports BBC.

The British charity is accused of concealing the findings of an inquiry into claims staff used prostitutes while delivering aid in Haiti in 2011.

Penny Lawrence said she was "ashamed" and takes full responsibility.

The Charity Commission has launched a statutory inquiry into Oxfam - which denies a cover-up - but details of its scope have not yet been released.

The watchdog says it has concerns the charity may not have "fully and frankly" disclosed everything it knew about the claims despite previous assurances from Oxfam.

Michelle Russell, director of investigations at the commission, said if details had been known it would have dealt with the situation "very differently".

It comes after an earlier meeting with the International Development Secretary in an effort to protect Oxfam's funding from being cut.

Lawrence joined Oxfam GB in 2006 as international programs director, leading teams across 60 countries, according to the charity's website.

"Concerns were raised about the behavior of staff in Chad as well as Haiti that we failed to adequately act upon," she said in a statement.

"It is now clear that these allegations - involving the use of prostitutes and which related to the behavior of both the country director and members of his team in Chad - were raised before he moved to Haiti."

The allegations emerged in The Times, which said Oxfam's country director for Haiti, Roland van Hauwermeiren, used prostitutes at a villa rented for him by Oxfam in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake.

According to the paper, Oxfam knew about concerns over the conduct of Hauwermeiren and another man when they worked in Chad before they were given senior roles in Haiti.
Oxfam said allegations that underage girls may have been involved were unproven.

Oxfam has faced growing criticism of the way it handled the allegations of misconduct by its staff in Haiti, where they were working in the aftermath of the huge earthquake that devastated the country in 2010.

Haiti's ambassador in London Bocchit Edmond called the revelations "shocking", "shameful", and "unacceptable".

BDST: 0958 HRS, FEB 13, 2018

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