Scottish Daily Mail

Did disgraced boss host orgies in 2 countries?

- From Arthur Martin in London and Daniel Bates in Haiti

IT claimed more than 220,000 lives and left 1.5million homeless and starving.

The shocking scale of the 2010 Haiti earthquake prompted many to give generously to disaster relief – and thousands of aid workers poured into the stricken Caribbean state.

Oxfam had a £70million fund to distribute and a team of 230 in Haiti, the majority of whom are understood to have behaved with dignity and worked tirelessly in difficult conditions. But allegation­s soon surfaced of senior Oxfam staff using prostitute­s when an aid worker felt compelled to report disturbing behaviour.

A whistleblo­wer claimed they cavorted with young prostitute­s – some of whom may have been under 18, Haiti’s age of consent – at a rented guesthouse known locally as ‘the whorehouse’.

A source said: ‘The group lived in a guesthouse rented by Oxfam that they called the “pink apartments”. They were throwing big parties with prostitute­s. These girls were wearing Oxfam T-shirts, running around half-naked, it was like a fullon Caligula orgy. These men used to talk about holding “young meat barbecues”.’

The group was said to have control over the drivers hired by the charity to move staff. A source said: ‘They said, “Listen, if you want your contract to be extended we need girls and you need to pick them up”.’

Oxfam’s country director there was Roland van Hauwermeir­en, 8, a Belgian national. After the allegation­s surfaced he was questioned about management failings on his watch and allegation­s that he used prostitute­s. These claims were separate from the alleged conduct at the ‘pink apartments’.

According to the investigat­ion, he admitted having prostitute­s visit his personal residence – a villa known as the Eagle’s Nest – rented for him by Oxfam.

Instead of being dismissed, he was offered a deal: he would be allowed to resign and given one month’s notice if he co-operated with the investigat­ion. Mr van Hauwermeir­en was allowed ‘a phased and dignified exit’ by the then Oxfam chief executive, Dame Barbara Stocking.

The charity released a statement in August 2011 saying he had voluntaril­y stepped down because of staff misconduct. It did not say what the allegation­s were about, claiming the matter was con-

fidential. Six other men left Oxfam as a result of the investigat­ion.

Yesterday Oxfam faced further allegation­s that its staff used prostitute­s in Chad in 2006. That mission was also led by Mr van Hauwermeir­en.

Former staff who worked for the charity in the African country alleged that women believed to be prostitute­s were repeatedly invited to the Oxfam team house there, with one adding that a senior member of staff had been fired for his behaviour in 2006.

One former Chad aid worker said yesterday: ‘They would invite the women for parties, we knew they weren’t just friends but something else. I have so much respect for Oxfam, they do great work, but this is a sector-wide problem.’

After leaving Oxfam Mr van Hauwermeir­en found a job as head of mission for French charity Action Against Hunger in Bangladesh from 2014 to 2016. Despite employment checks, the French charity claimed Oxfam ‘did not share any warning regarding unethical conduct, the reasons of his resignatio­n or the results of internal inquiry’.

 ??  ?? Tainted: An Oxfam-funded project in Port-au-Prince. The charity let Roland van Hauwermeir­en, right, resign after he admitted prostitute­s visited his villa
Tainted: An Oxfam-funded project in Port-au-Prince. The charity let Roland van Hauwermeir­en, right, resign after he admitted prostitute­s visited his villa
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