Ex-Oxfam chief accused of throwing parties with prostitutes says allegations are 'lies and exaggerations'
The former Oxfam chief accused of throwing parties with prostitutes says the claims are "lies and exaggerations."
Roland van Hauwermeiren resigned as the charity's director in Haiti in 2011 amid accusations he used sex workers while delivering aid to the earthquake-hit region.
Oxfam is struggling to stem an exodus of support after The Times newspaper alleged it had concealed findings from an inquiry into the behaviour of several staff members.
Breaking his silence on the scandal for the first time, Mr van Hauwermeiren admitted certain details that had come to light were accurate.
He told Belgian newspaper De Standaard: "A lot of people, including in the international media, will be blushing with shame when they hear my version of the facts.
"It is not that I deny everything. There are things that are described correctly. But there are many lies and exaggerations.
"Parties every week? Fancy villas? Women paid with money from the organisation?"
He indicated the revelations had taken a personal toll, telling the paper: "It is especially bad that my family no longer want to see me."
It comes as International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt was due to meet director-general of the National Crime Agency (NCA) Lynne Owens to discuss how they could jointly tackle sexual exploitation and abuse.
The NCA has been "closely monitoring" allegations of overseas abuse and has said it has a range of powers to investigate certain sexual offences committed outside the UK.
Meanwhile, Oxfam said that it was "too early to tell the impact of the crisis" on donations, but revealed 1,270 people cancelled their direct debits between Saturday and Monday - almost double the average of 600 cancellat ions per month.
A spokeswoman added: "We are extremely grateful to all those who continue to support us, those who have made additional gifts, and those who have sent messages of support.
"They are determined that the millions of people that Oxfam helps worldwide every year don't suffer as a result of the actions of a few."
The charity said it also sacked its Haiti country director last year following allegations of "mismanagement" and "inappropriate behaviour".
But it stressed the dismissal of Damien Berrendorf, who served as the Oxfam's country director in Haiti from 2012 to 2017, was "not related to sexual misconduct" and was "not connected to the case in 2011".
On Thursday, the Charity Commission is also expected to set out the terms of its statutory inquiry into Oxfam following an all-day meeting with the charity at its offices in Oxford on Wednesday.
Senagalese singer Baaba Maal became the latest Oxfam ambassador to quit their role, joining Hollywood star Minnie Driver.
He told BBC Newsnight: "What has happened on a human level is disgusting and heartbreaking.
"It is very sad. Vulnerable people, especially children, should always be protected.
"As such I am disassociating myself from Oxfam immediately."
But the charity received support from Glastonbury Festival founder Michael Eavis.
Speaking at the NME Awards, he told the Press Association: "We've raised millions through the years with Oxfam - six million quid and everyone's said what a wonderful charity they are and we still support them.
"And for a few dodgy people - like with the NHS you get a few dodgy doctors and it doesn't discredit the NHS does it. So why should it affect Oxfam?"
Former ambassador Livia Firth, the wife of actor Colin, urged Oxfam to a ddress the abuse but continue its relief work.
She said: "It is appalling to hear the news of the men that have abused the people they were there to help. It's a betrayal of all who put their faith in them: those who most needed their help.
"I still believe that such programmes are necessary. It would be a tragedy to see this relief work and advocacy stopped. For its part Oxfam must address this abuse diligently and transparently.
"Oxfam must do everything in its power to heal the damage to those who depend on both its work and the good faith and generosity of its supporters."
Ms Mordaunt has accused the charity of failing to show moral leadership by not properly informing donors about the actions of its workers and has made clear its public funding could be at risk.
Oxfam received Â£31.7 million from the UK Government in 2016/17.
The scandal has already led to the resignation of Oxfam deputy chief executive Penny La wrence.Source: Google News