Oxfam admits ‘serious error’ after re-hiring man sacked over Haiti misconduct

15 Feb 2018 News

The inside of the Oxfam Supply Centre in Bicester, UK

Phil Kirk/Oxfam

Oxfam has admitted it made a “serious error” after it re-hired aid worker Gurpreet Singh to work on a short term contract in Ethiopia less than three months after he was sacked for sexual misconduct in Haiti.

A spokeswoman for Oxfam said Singh was one of the men fired by the charity in August 2011, following revelations of sexual misconduct while he was working for the charity in Haiti in 2011 following the earthquake.

The spokeswoman said Singh was re-hired “in an emergency as a short-term consultant” to respond to an emergency in Ethiopia and continued work on that contract between October and December 2011.

She said the charity were now “checking whether there were any issues in Ethiopia while Gurpreet Singh was there”.

The statement in full: “We have identified that Gurpreet Singh who was one of those dismissed by Oxfam as a result of the sexual misconduct case in Haiti in 2011, was subsequently hired by Oxfam as a consultant In Ethiopia from October - December 2011.

“Hiring Singh, even in an emergency as a short-term consultant, was a serious error and should never have happened. We are still checking how this occurred but it further highlights that we need an organization and sector-wide approach to the vetting and recruitment of both staff and consultants, especially in emergencies where there is pressure to fill posts quickly in order to help save lives.

“We are now checking whether there were any issues in Ethiopia while Gurpreet Singh was there.”

Oxfam's senior leaders met with the Charity Commission yesterday and a statement from the regulator is expected later today.

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