Penny Mordaunt warns charities could have funding cut over 'safeguarding issues'

Randolph Lopez
February 12, 2018

The International Development Secretary will meet Oxfam bosses for showdown talks Monday after accusing the beleaguered charity of lying and failing in its "moral leadership" over the Haiti sex scandal.

'Our approach to this matter would have been different had the full details that have been reported been disclosed to us at the time, ' it said in a statement.

If Oxfam doesn't fully cooperate "then I can not work with them anymore as an aid delivery partner", she said.

Ms Mordaunt said she was writing to all British charities that receive United Kingdom aid to insist they detail the steps they are taking to ensure safeguarding policies are fully in place.

Oxfam was further embroiled in scandal as reports claimed staff also used prostitutes in Chad during a humanitarian mission there in 2006.

Mordaunt said she was writing to all charities that receive state aid demanding they step up efforts to tackle sexual misconduct among staff or face funding cut-offs.

"People knew in DfID, I raised this directly with my department at the time".

She said Oxfam often worked in very hard locations "where the rule of law isn't going on".

"But I don't think it was in anyone's best interest to be describing the details of the behaviour in a way that was actually going to draw extreme attention to it".

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The former International Development secretary Priti Patel told the BBC: 'There are no databases of these predatory paedophiles that exist and we need them ... to stop this disgusting and corrosive culture of the revolving door in aid agencies'.

The country's charity regulator, the Charity Commission, said Oxfam had a duty to protect its staff and the people they work with - a process known as "safeguarding" - and had to declare any problems it had. "We were not told about the nature of these events".

But she said: "Unfortunately, there is nothing we can do to stop individuals falsifying references, getting others that were dismissed to act as referees and claiming it was a reference from Oxfam, or former or current Oxfam staff that worked with the individual providing a reference in a personal capacity".

It said the vast number of aid operations working around the globe meant it was "not possible.to ensure that those found guilty of sexual misconduct were not re-employed in the sector".

CEO Mark Goldring told ITV News he was sorry for the incident but denied it had been covered up by the charity.

Oxfam said it was "dismayed by what happened" and would fully cooperate with authorities.

In an emailed statement to dpa on Sunday, Oxfam said it would "strive to clarify as soon as possible whether the [Chad] allegations were known to us and what measures were taken".

"One investigation led to the dismissal of a staff member, while the other case resulted in disciplinary action".

Other reports by GlobalViralNews

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