Oxfam sacked Haiti country director last year

Damien Berrendorf, who held the role from 2012 to 2017, was dismissed for mismanagement, but the charity says there was no connection with the sexual misconduct allegations of 2011

Haiti in the wake of the earthquake of 2010
Haiti in the wake of the earthquake of 2010

The person who was Oxfam’s country director for Haiti in 2012 was sacked last year after "allegations of inappropriate behaviour" emerged, the charity has said.

Oxfam said in a statement that Damien Berrendorf, the country director in Haiti from 2012 to 2017, was dismissed for mismanagement after allegations were made on the charity’s whistleblowing line.

The charity said the allegations against Berrendorf were not connected to the claims of sexual misconduct among aid workers in Oxfam’s Haiti programme in 2011, which led to the resignation of three Oxfam employees – including Roland van Hauwermeiren, the country director at the time – and the dismissal of four others for gross misconduct.

In a statement, Oxfam said: "We can confirm that Damien Berrendorf was Oxfam's country director in Haiti from 2012 to 2017. He was dismissed in 2017 for mismanagement. The dismissal was not related to sexual misconduct and was not connected to the case in 2011, but there were allegations of inappropriate behaviour.

"As soon as the allegations were reported via Oxfam’s whistleblowing line, they were investigated and the individual was dismissed."

Oxfam has apologised "unreservedly" for what happened in Haiti in 2011 and announced a range of measures to strengthen its safeguarding policy, but has been threatened with losing £34m of government funding and is the subject of a Charity Commission statutory inquiry.

Cafod sacks former Oxfam employee

The news comes as the Catholic international development charity Cafod revealed that it had sacked a former Oxfam employee who was involved in the 2011 Haiti scandal.

Cafod said that after the claims of sexual misconduct emerged it had dismissed one of the people who left Oxfam in 2011, having placed them on leave earlier this week.

The person, whom the charity did not name, had worked for Cafod since 2014.

In a statement, Cafod said it was "unaware of allegations made against this employee until we were contacted by The Times". Cafod said it had received two references, including from his most recent employer, when he applied for the role in 2014.

"When we were made aware, we immediately put the staff member on leave to investigate in line with our code of behaviour protocol," the statement said.

"We can confirm that the individual has been dismissed today. Our review found that there have been no formal complaints of misconduct about the employee during his time at Cafod.

"We requested and yesterday received a reference from Oxfam GB headquarters which confirmed the allegations against him. His failure to disclose the circumstances of his departure from Oxfam is in breach of Cafod’s code of behaviour."

Cafod confirmed it had since 2010 investigated and acted upon two allegations related to sexual misconduct by staff, both of which occurred overseas and one of which led to a local police investigation, a report to the Charity Commission and the employee’s dismissal.

The other case "yielded no evidence to require disciplinary action", the statement said.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Already registered?
Sign in
RSS Feed

Third Sector Insight

Sponsored webcasts, surveys and expert reports from Third Sector partners