The British government is reviewing its relationship with Oxfam amid a deepening sexual misconduct scandal involving some of the charity’s employees working in Haiti after its devastating 2010 earthquake.
The UK’s Department for International Development sharply criticised the charity for its lack of transparency as questions swirled about how much detail Oxfam provided when it first reported the allegations.
The agency, which gave £31.7 million (US$43.8 million) to Oxfam last year, demanded that Oxfam’s senior officials meet with it to explain their actions.
“If wrongdoing, abuse, fraud or criminal activity occur, we need to know about it immediately, in full,” the agency said. “The way this appalling abuse of vulnerable people was dealt with raises serious questions that Oxfam must answer.”
The Times of London reported Friday that misconduct allegations against seven former Oxfam staff in Haiti included the use of prostitutes some of whom may have been under 18 and downloading pornography. It said Oxfam’s investigation into the charges was hampered by a “determination to keep it out of the public eye.”
Oxfam says it investigated the allegations in 2011.
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The charity confirmed it had dismissed four people and allowed three others to resign in the case after an investigation uncovered offences including sexual misconduct, bullying, intimidation and failure to protect staff.
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