OXFAM scandal soared to expulsion

By John Agok

OXFAM latest scandal has culminated into expulsion of its Country Director who is suspected to have engaged in undiplomatic activities that included sexual scandals in the Country.

South Sudan government deported the County Director of Oxfam International, nine days after arbitrary detention at a security facility in the country’s capital Juba, a media official for the organization has reported.

The authority remained tight lipped when contacted to comment on the issue regarding the latest scam.

Adil Al-Mahi was arrested by unidentified security officials on September 30, 2021 when he was leaving his office. Reasons behind his detention had not been made public as there was no official arrest warrant.

“He was deported after nine days of detention. They did not tell us the reason, we just discovered that he is already in Khartoum and he never briefed us of what had happened. He called when he was already in Sudan,”  Oxfam Senior Media and Campaign Officer, Dominic Kango Amos told the City Review.

According to the media report  , Oxfam Deputy Country Director, Juliet Moriku Balikowa said at that time Al-Mahi’s whereabouts were unknown.

“We don’t have any of that information [of his whereabouts], what we are doing now is to establish the fact of the matter and to ensure he is safe and well,” Juliet said.

Juba Monitor Newspaper caught up with NGO Forum Communication Officer Mr. Rembe Seme who admitted that they were aware of expulsion of OXFAM Boss but could not comment on the issue.

“Yes, we are aware of the expulsion of OXFAM Boss but we cannot comment at the moment”, he said.

Evans said she received three new allegations in a single day in February 2015, including one woman forced to have sex for aid.

“There was one of women being coerced to have sex in a humanitarian response by another aid worker, another case where a woman had been coerced to have sex in exchange for aid, and another came to our attention where a member of staff had been struck off for sexual abuse and hadn’t disclosed that,” she said.

Evans now a local councillor in England said she “struggled” to understand why senior management did not give her more resources to address the problem.

In a separate issue, Channel 4 cited figures showing seven incidents of “inappropriate conduct with children” in Oxfam’s shops in 2013/14.

          The former global head of safeguarding also warned of assaults on children volunteering in Oxfam’s hundreds of high-street charity shops in Britain.

She accused senior managers of failing to act, heaping pressure on chief executive Mark Goldring just hours after his deputy resigned over a scandal involving aid workers’ use of prostitutes in Haiti and Chad.

Haitian President Jovenel Moise spoke out about the scandal on Tuesday saying there was “nothing more undignified and dishonest” than humanitarian aid workers exploiting “needy people”.

Evans told Channel 4 News of a survey conducted during her 2012-2015 tenure which exposed a “culture of sexual abuse” in some Oxfam offices.

The survey of 120 staff across three countries found between 11 and 14 percent said they witnessed or experienced sexual assault.

Seven percent of staff in South Sudanwitnessed or experienced rape or attempted rape involving colleagues.

The revelations have caused outrage in Britain, where Oxfam received £31.7 million (35.7 million euros, $43.8 million) from the government last year.

Some commentators have said the scandal should prompt a rethink of Britain’s commitment to spend 0.7 percent of its national income on foreign aid — a UN target that only very few countries in the world respect.

‘Scope for abuse’

The international development ministry has begun a wider review of how the foreign aid sector deals with allegations of sexual misconduct in the workplace.

“Emergency situations are almost a perfect environment for these kinds of activities to emerge,” Mike Jennings, head of the Department of Development Studies at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies, told AFP.

“You have extremely vulnerable people and a few people who are effectively controlling access to resources, or have huge amounts of power.

“Whenever you have those inequalities and variances in power, you have scope for abuse.”

Megan Nobert, who was drugged and raped by a fellow aid worker in South Sudan in 2015, told BBC radio that sexual violence in humanitarian work places was a “common occurrence”.

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