Oxfam ‘gave no details about shamed ex-worker’

A charity which employed a former Oxfam aid worker after he admitted using prostitutes in Haiti says it was never told of the allegations.

Action Against Hunger took on ex-Oxfam Haiti country director Roland van Hauwermeiren after he left his job in the Caribbean.

It said it carried out a series of checks on Mr Hauwermeiren but received no information of inappropriate or unethical behaviour.

Oxfam has said that Mr Hauwermeiren admitted prostitutes illegally visited his villa, apologised and was allowed a “phased and dignified” resignation in 2011.

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He then joined Action Against Hunger as its head of mission in Bangladesh where he remained until 2014.

An Action Against Hunger spokesman said: “Action Against Hunger has a strict recruitment process which includes tests, interviews, individual references checks, and contact with former employee organisations according to French labour regulation.

“This procedure was followed prior to the employment of Roland van Hauwermeiren.

“During this process, Action Against Hunger received no information regarding any inappropriate or unethical behaviour by Roland van Hauwermeiren while he was with Oxfam in Haiti, or any warning on the risks of employing him.

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“According to our records, we have not received any alerts regarding sexual misconduct or abuse during Roland van Hauwermeiren’s assignment with Action Against Hunger.

“We have now, however, begun a process to closely scrutinise the time he was employed by us, and Action Against Hunger commits to full disclosure, collaborating in full with the authorities.”

Earlier, actress Minnie Driver became the first celebrity to resign as an Oxfam ambassador in protest at the sex scandal engulfing the charity.

It has also emerged that Mr Hauwermeiren went to work for Oxfam after working for another aid agency where concerns were raised.

Two former workers with medical charity Merlin have told The Times they raised matters about the way Mr Hauwermeiren was acting in the early 00s.

The Belgian, who was in his mid-50s at the time, was the Merlin’s country manager in Liberia.

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Amira Malik Miller, a Swedish aid official who was working for Merlin as Mr Hauwermeiren’s assistant, told her bosses about his “shameless” behaviour.

She told IRIN website: “The behaviour at that time in (the capital) Monrovia was insane… but plenty of UN types (were) doing the same. Lots of sleazy bars, girls on the beach.”

Another junior Merlin staff member in Liberia wrote a detailed statement to managers describing what he saw his boss get up to.

Field worker Paul Hardcastle told The Times he was with Mr Hauwermeiren one night in 2004 when they visited a disco “with the intention of picking up girls for the night”, who were young prostitutes.

He added that his superior lived in a different house to other Merlin workers which would be visited by “girls” and Mr Hauwermeiren and others “basically used that house as a place to entertain the girls they picked up at nightclubs in Monrovia”.

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Mr Hauwermeiren joined Oxfam in 2006 two years after leaving Merlin and was posted to Chad where concerns were raised about his use of prostitutes but no action taken.

He then moved on to the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2010 before heading to Haiti after the devastating earthquake in 2011.

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Merlin has since been taken over by Save The Children, which said in a statement it had no access to records from when Mr Hauwermeiren was employed there and cannot say whether action was taken.

International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt is expected to announce on Wednesday the Government is giving £5m to help protect vulnerable children across the globe.