• Ex-Oxfam director hired sex workers


    LONDON: The former Oxfam official at the center of a prostitution scandal admitted to paying for sex at his charity-funded residence during an internal inquiry into the allegations, a report released on Monday by the British organization said.

    The report also said three Oxfam employees physically threatened a witness in the investigation into alleged sexual misconduct in Haiti following the devastating 2010 earthquake there.

    The charity fired four staff members for gross misconduct and allowed three others, including former country director Roland van Hauwermeiren, to resign over allegations they hired young sex workers.

    The 68-year-old Belgian has denied organizing orgies or visiting brothels on the Caribbean island, saying he told Oxfam he had engaged in “intimate relations some three times” at his home but did not pay for these liaisons.

    A redacted copy of the 2011 report made public by the charity said Van Hauwermeiren offered to resign after admitting to investigators that he had hired sex workers at Oxfam-funded accommodation.

    “During the interview the CD admitted to using prostitutes in his OGB [Oxfam Great Britain] residence,” the report said.

    During the inquiry, three employees also allegedly threatened a colleague who had been interviewed by investigators after witness details were leaked.

    “This incident resulted in three of the suspects… physically threatening and intimidating one of the witnesses who had been referred to in the report,” it said.

    Details of action taken against the suspects included dismissal for “bullying and intimidation of OGB staff” and misuse of Oxfam computing equipment “through the access and download of pornographic and illegal material.”

    Oxfam has unveiled an action plan to tackle sexual harassment and abuse, and agreed not to bid for any more state funds until reforms were in place.

    It has faced accusations it was not transparent about the scandal, which has led to the resignation of its deputy head and high-profile ambassadors such as Desmond Tutu.

    The report said the charity negotiated a month’s notice period with Van Hauwermeiren and agreed to allow him “a phased and dignified exit” if he cooperated with the rest of the investigation.



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