Oxfam admits failings 'made fraud possible'

Oxfam has admitted to "weak management and monitoring systems" following an investigation into alleged fraud in the Indonesian province of Aceh Besar.

The aid agency initially suspended part of its post-tsunami recovery operations when £11,800 went missing (Third Sector, 22 March). The subsequent inquiry, conducted by accountants Pricewaterhousecoopers and an internal audit team, found that "weak management and monitoring systems in certain areas, aggravated by high staff turnover and recruitment difficulties, created the possibility for fraud to occur".

Twenty-two staff face disciplinary action, ten of whom could be dismissed for gross misconduct. Oxfam sent details of the inquiry to selected newswires last week but is not publishing the report. An Oxfam spokesman said "ongoing personnel issues" prevented the report's release.

"We take this issue very seriously, have learnt important lessons and will remain vigilant in the future," said Barbara Stocking, director of Oxfam.

Alan Gosschalk, chair of the ImpACT Coalition, which was set up to promote charity transparency, applauded Oxfam for publicising the investigation results.

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