Western Mail - - FRONT PAGE - David Hughes and Aine Fox news­desk@waleson­

OX­FAM’S han­dling of sex al­le­ga­tions has been con­demned by the Gov­ern­ment – with a threat that mil­lions in tax­payer fund­ing could be cut off.

In­ter­na­tional De­vel­op­ment Sec­re­tary Penny Mor­daunt said Ox­fam had failed to show “moral lead­er­ship” and had failed to prop­erly in­form donors, reg­u­la­tors and pros­e­cu­tors about the ac­tions of its work­ers.

Hol­ly­wood star Min­nie Driver has be­come the first celebrity to quit as an Ox­fam am­bas­sador fol­low­ing al­le­ga­tions that se­nior staff work­ing in cri­sis zones paid for sex with vul­ner­a­ble lo­cals and the char­ity also faces a chal­lenge to hang on to ma­jor cor­po­rate part­ners.

In a speech to an aid con­fer­ence in Stock­holm, Ms Mor­daunt tore into Ox­fam over its re­sponse to the rev­e­la­tions about aid work­ers in Haiti in 2011. She said: “The re­cent rev­e­la­tions about Ox­fam – not solely the ac­tions per­pe­trated by a num­ber of those staff, but the way the or­gan­i­sa­tions re­sponded to those events, should be a wake-up call to the sec­tor.

“They let per­pe­tra­tors go. They did not in­form donors, their reg­u­la­tor or pros­e­cut­ing author­i­ties. It was not just the pro­cesses and pro­ce­dures of that or­gan­i­sa­tion that were lack­ing but moral lead­er­ship.”

Ox­fam re­ceived £31.7m in tax­payer fund­ing in 2016/17, but Ms Mor­daunt in­di­cated fu­ture sup­port could be at risk.

“No or­gan­i­sa­tion is too big, or our work with them too com­plex, for me to hes­i­tate to re­move fund­ing from them if we can­not trust them to put the ben­e­fi­cia­ries of aid first,” she said.

She said she would be meet­ing the Na­tional Crime Agency on Thurs­day af­ter talks with char­ity bosses, reg­u­la­tors and ex­perts in re­cent days.

“While in­ves­ti­ga­tions have to be com­pleted and any po­ten­tial crim­i­nals pros­e­cuted ac­cord­ingly, what is clear is that the cul­ture that al­lowed this to hap­pen needs to change and it needs to change now,” she said.

Ox­fam of­fi­cials were due to meet the Char­ity Com­mis­sion yes­ter­day af­ter the reg­u­la­tor launched a statu­tory in­quiry.

Good Will Hunt­ing star Driver quit her Ox­fam role af­ter 20 years with the char­ity, say­ing she was “dev­as­tated” by the scan­dal.

The 48-year-old tweeted: “All I can tell you about this aw­ful rev­e­la­tion about Ox­fam is that I am dev­as­tated. Dev­as­tated for the women who were used by peo­ple sent there to help them, dev­as­tated by the re­sponse of an or­gan­i­sa­tion that I have been rais­ing aware­ness for since I was 9 years old £ox­fam­scan­dal.”

Dur­ing her time as an Ox­fam am­bas­sador, Driver trav­elled to coun­tries in­clud­ing Cam­bo­dia and Thai­land to high­light the char­ity’s work and has also per­formed at a fundrais­ing con­cert.

Ox­fam has is­sued an “un­re­served apol­ogy” to the Gov­ern­ment, donors, sup­port­ers and the peo­ple of Haiti over its han­dling of in­ci­dents in­clud­ing the al­leged use of pros­ti­tutes by work­ers, in the earth­quake-hit coun­try in 2011.

Four mem­bers of Ox­fam staff were dis­missed and three, in­clud­ing the coun­try di­rec­tor Roland van Hauw­er­meiren, re­signed be­fore the end of the 2011 in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Ac­cord­ing to the Times, Ox­fam knew about con­cerns over the con­duct of Mr van Hauw­er­meiren and an­other man when they worked in Chad be­fore they were given se­nior roles in Haiti.

Ms Mor­daunt said her depart­ment had cre­ated a new safe­guard­ing unit which would “ur­gently look into how we can stop sex­ual abusers and preda­tors be­ing reem­ployed by char­i­ties” in­clud­ing the pos­si­bil­ity of a global reg­is­ter of aid work­ers.

> ‘Dev­as­tated’ – Min­nie Driver has quit her role as an Ox­fam am­bas­sador

> ‘Wake-up call’: Penny Mor­daunt

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