Oxfam staff dismissed in Democratic Republic of Congo investigation

Published: 16th June 2021

Oxfam has dismissed three members of staff as a result of an investigation into allegations of abuses of power in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).  

Allegations were also upheld against a fourth individual who had been suspended during the investigation and whose contract with Oxfam expired before the conclusion of the disciplinary process. The outcome, which would have resulted in dismissal had the individual remained a staff member, has been noted on the former employee’s record. 

The disciplinary action against the four individuals was taken after the investigation – conducted by external specialists – upheld a number of allegations:

  • Allegations of nepotism were upheld against three individuals
  • Allegations of sexual misconduct were upheld against two individuals
  • Allegations of bullying and intimidation were upheld against one individual
  • Allegations of inappropriate relationships and a failure to manage conflicts of interest were upheld against one individual

A number of further allegations were investigated but were not substantiated. 

The investigation process in respect of these four individuals has now been completed. Investigations continue into further allegations of misconduct, with one member of staff currently suspended.

Danny Sriskandarajah, Oxfam GB chief executive, said: “I apologise to everyone who has been hurt by these abuses of power and I hope the action we have taken demonstrates our resolve to tackle all forms of misconduct. Oxfam is committed to doing all we can to prevent abuses of power and to taking action where wrongdoing is found.  We strongly encourage anyone who has concerns to report them, so we can hold those responsible for misconduct accountable.

“I would like to thank all those who have assisted the investigation so far, especially survivors and witnesses. I am also grateful to our staff in DRC who continue to work tirelessly to deliver our lifesaving work.” 

Oxfam GB commissioned an external team of investigators to investigate abuses of power in DRC, starting in November 2020. We have kept the Charity Commission, the FCDO and donors informed as appropriate. 

In line with our standard HR practice and in order to protect the identities of survivors and witnesses, we are not publicly naming those involved. 

Notes to editors

Oxfam is a member of the Inter-Agency Misconduct Disclosure Scheme which enables member agencies to check an individual’s employment record with other members of the scheme. Checks indicate where potential new hires have had disciplinary sanctions or are the subject of a current investigation in relation to sexual harassment, sexual abuse, or sexual exploitation.

We request that media refrain from naming those involved in order to protect people, including witnesses and survivors.

Overall data on safeguarding is published every six months here.

Contact information

Matt Grainger | matt.grainger@oxfam.org | +(44)07730680837