Former staff member of Oxfam-UK, Roland Van Hauwermeiren, admitted making mistakes in the missions he carried out in Liberia, Chad and Haiti, but denied organizing any sex parties while he worked for the NGO. In a four-page open letter published Thursday on the VTM Nieuws website, Van Hauwermeiren, a Belgian national, denied accusations that he had organized orgies with prostitutes, some of them very young, while on mission in Haiti. He said there was never any question of sex parties.
“I never went to a bordello, a nightspot or a bar in that country,” he said. “There were many attempts by men and women to enter my home with all types of excuses to ask for money, demand a job, or offer sexual services, but I never yielded to their advances,” he said.
During an internal investigation conducted by Oxfam, “I admitted having intimate contacts on three occasions in my home. This was with an honorable and mature lady, not an earthquake victim, not a prostitute. And I never gave her any money,” he explained, adding, however, that he was “deeply ashamed” of this.
Van Hauwermeiren said the host of financial reports, internal and external audits and monitoring procedures conducted following the accusations never showed that money had been spent to organize sex parties. He explained that he tendered his resignation for three reasons: not reacting enough when the sex-scandal rumours broke; feeding these rumours himself by having an extramarital affair; and disagreeing with Oxfam on certain technical modalities.
The former Oxfam Programme Director in Haiti urged that continued support be given through NGOs to people in emergency situations. “It’s not because a tiny portion of staffers do not respect the codes of conduct that the entire organization is at fault,” he stressed.