Oxfam’s Penny Lawrence Resigns

Oxfam Logo. Photo: Oxfam International Website
Oxfam Logo. Photo: Oxfam International Website

Penny Lawrence, the Deputy Executive of Oxfam, has resigned over the “handling of a sex scandal involving air workers,” BBC reported.

Oxfam has been under tremendous pressure after the charity was accused of concealing the finding of inquiries including that the Oxfam country director in Haiti used prostitutes during delivering aid in 2011.

Penny Lawrence announced her resignation in a statement taking full responsibility. Lawrence said she was ashamed.

“Concerns were raised about the behavior of staff in Chad as well as Haiti that we failed to adequately act upon,” Lawrence said.

“It is now clear that these allegations – involving the use of prostitutes and which related to the behavior of both the country director and members of his team in Chad – were raised before he moved to Haiti.”

The Times investigation reported that “Oxfam covered up the use of prostitutes by senior aid workers.”

Following The Times investigation, it quoted Matt Hancock, the culture secretary responsible for charity regulation: “These allegations are deeply shocking, and Oxfam must now provide the Charity Commission with all the evidence they hold of events that happened in Haiti as a matter of urgency.

“The reported historic behavior of senior aid workers is abhorrent and completely unacceptable. Charities must ensure that they have the highest standards of transparency and safeguarding procedures in place to protect vulnerable people and maintain the trust of the public.”

Oxfam’s Funding Threatened

After the revelation of The Times findings, Oxfam’s funding has been threatened by several donors including the British government and the European Union.

The European Union said it demands maximum clarity from Oxfam and the EU is ready to “cease funding any partner not living up to high ethical standards.”

Penny Mordaunt, the International Development Secretary said, Oxfam must ensure clarity of the way it handled the allegations or it might risk losing the $40 million government funding it received in the last year.

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