NEWS
15/02/2018 19:04 GMT

Roland Van Hauwermeiren, Former Oxfam Chief At Centre Of Alleged Prostitute Scandal, Breaks Silence

'I'm not a saint, I'm a man of flesh and blood and have made mistakes'.

The former Oxfam chief accused of hiring prostitutes in Haiti has dismissed the allegations as “lies and exaggerations” and said a “lot of people... will be blushing with shame when they hear my version of the facts”.

Roland van Hauwermeiren also insists he himself dismissed staff for paying for sex and “was nicknamed ‘the terminator’ as I acted so severely in this case”.

But he has admitted certain details that have come to light were accurate.

Roland van Hauwermeiren.

He told Belgian newspaper De Standaard: “A lot of people, including in the international media, will be blushing with shame when they hear my version of the facts.

“It is not that I deny everything. There are things that are described correctly. But there are many lies and exaggerations.

“Parties every week? Fancy villas? Women paid with money from the organisation?”

He indicated the revelations had taken a personal toll, telling the paper: “It is especially bad that my family no longer want to see me.”

Van Hauwermeiren has also written an open letter in which he says: ”I’m not a saint, I’m a man of flesh and blood and have made mistakes (not easy to admit), and I am deeply ashamed.”

It comes as International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt was due to meet director-general of the National Crime Agency (NCA) to discuss how they could jointly tackle sexual exploitation and abuse.

The NCA has been “closely monitoring” allegations of overseas abuse and has said it has a range of powers to investigate certain sexual offences committed outside the UK.

Meanwhile, Oxfam said that it was “too early to tell the impact of the crisis” on donations, but revealed 1,270 people cancelled their direct debits between Saturday and Monday – almost double the average of 600 cancellations per month, reports the Press Association.

A spokeswoman added: “We are extremely grateful to all those who continue to support us, those who have made additional gifts, and those who have sent messages of support.

“They are determined that the millions of people that Oxfam helps worldwide every year don’t suffer as a result of the actions of a few.”

In further developments, the charity said it also sacked its Haiti country director last year following allegations of “mismanagement” and “inappropriate behaviour”.

But it stressed the dismissal of Damien Berrendorf, who served as the Oxfam’s country director in Haiti from 2012 to 2017, was “not related to sexual misconduct” and was “not connected to the case in 2011”.

The Charity Commission is expected to set out the terms of its statutory inquiry into Oxfam on Thursday, following an all-day meeting with the charity at its offices in Oxford on Wednesday.

Mordaunt has accused the charity of failing to show moral leadership by not properly informing donors about the actions of its workers and has made clear its public funding could be at risk.

Oxfam received £31.7 million from the UK Government in 2016/17.