Oxfam sacks workers after claims staff used prostitutes in the Congo

Oxfam sacks workers after claims that staff used prostitutes, issued death threats and committed fraud in the Democratic Republic of Congo

  • The probe found two members of Oxfam’s staff engaged in sexual misconduct
  • Other claims found to be true included bullying and ‘inappropriate’ relationship
  • In 2018 it emerged some Oxfam workers had engaged in ‘sex parties’ in Haiti 

Oxfam today sacked three workers after an investigation into claims its staff used prostitutes, issued death threats and committed fraud in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). 

Allegations were also upheld against a fourth individual who had been suspended during the investigation and whose contract with Oxfam expired before the end of the disciplinary process. 

The charity said the claims that had been found to be true following an external investigation included sexual misconduct by two members of staff and nepotism by three. 

One worker was found to have engaged in bullying and intimidation, while another had an ‘inappropriate relationship’ and failed to ‘manage conflicts of interest’. 

 Oxfam has sacked three workers for misconduct in the Democratic Republic of Congo (pictured are Congolese women collecting water from a site run by the charity) 

Oxfam said that a number of further claims were investigated but ‘were not substantiated’ but did not specify which these were. 

An additional member of staff is still being investigated while being suspended. 

The probe came just weeks after Oxfam was cleared to apply for government aid funds again following the Haiti scandal.

The inquiry, which began in November last year, concerned allegations of intimidation, death threats, fraud, and nepotism, The Times reported. 

But whistleblowers 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.

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 (file photo)

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

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

The letter said: ‘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.

Four employees were fired for ‘gross misconduct’ and three others, including the charity director in Haiti Roland Van Hauwermeiren (pictured), 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 earlier 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.’ 

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