British charity Oxfam has revealed that three of its employees accused of paying for sex while on a mission to help those affected by the 2010 earthquake in Haiti had physically threatened a colleague who was sent to investigate the misconduct claims.
The charity released the 2011 internal investigation report on Monday. Parts of the document have been blacked out to hide people’s identities, including those of the three men accused of physical threats.
“The full, unredacted report has been shared with the Haitian Ambassador in London and a copy will be given to the Haitian government in a meeting on Monday morning,” the charity said. “We have informed the relevant national authorities of the names of the seven men involved in sexual misconduct.”
The report showed that seven employees left the charity because of their behaviour in Haiti in 2011. One employee was dismissed and three resigned for having prostitutes at Oxfam premises, and two were dismissed for bullying and intimidation, it adds. One employee was fired for failing to protect the staff.
Oxfam’s country director for Haiti at the time, Roland van Hauwermeiren, had admitted to the internal investigators to using prostitutes in the charity’s premises, the report showed.
The allegations have been in the news after The Times published a report about it earlier this month. The Times had said that Oxfam’s country director for Haiti, Roland van Hauwermeiren, allegedly had prostitutes over at a villa that the charity had rented for him. The report said Oxfam knew about the allegations and even launched an internal investigation that led to four aid workers being dismissed and three others, including van Hauwermeiren, resigning.
In its report about the allegations, Oxfam said “serious misconduct” had taken place in Haiti, without going into the details. After the news report came out on February 9, Oxfam denied trying to cover up the allegations. Soon after, other reports emerged that said former employees in Chad alleged that prostitutes were repeatedly invited to the Oxfam team house, and a senior member had been fired for his behaviour in 2006. Hauwermeiren was head of Oxfam in Chad at the time.
The charity is now under threat of losing its British government funding over the allegations. Several senior staff, including its deputy chief executive officer Penny Lawrence, have already resigned. It has lost at least four of its 15 celebrity ambassadors.