UK government gave millions to charity undergoing sexual misconduct investigations
The UK Department for International Development handed more than AU$235 million to a charity undergoing sexual misconduct and fraud inquiries
Amid empty promises, a UK charity was gifted millions of dollars despite allegations of sexual misconduct and ongoing fraud concerns within the organisation.
The Department for International Development gifted more than AU$235 million to the International Planned Parenthood Foundation (IPPF) for a two-year program, despite being alerted to allegations of sexual misconduct the month prior.
The International Development Secretary, Penny Mordaunt, made promises to withhold funds from charities that did not work to end sexual misconduct, The Times reported. However, the Department handed millions of pounds to IPPF while a senior official was under investigation after allegations of harassment and misconduct.
“Internal documents refer to claims of sexual harassment, bullying, abusive conduct and intimidation of whistleblowers at one of the charity’s largest overseas offices,” The Times reported on Tuesday of the IPPF allegations. “A female executive was allegedly sent a pornographic video in an attempt to intimidate her.”
The Department knew of the allegations in August but pressed ahead with the funding for the September program. This is despite releasing a database around the same time of suspected sex predators and a summit aimed at sexual misconduct prevention.
In October, after it was reported that 600 children have been harmed by UK charities, Mordaunt said: “What we have been doing since The Times report is asking, ‘how do we clean up the sector’? How do we ensure that predatory individuals who think this sector is a soft touch are found, held to account and prosecuted?”
The UK Charity Commission said IPPF had made “a number of serious incident reports relating to matters of concern in a regional office, including concerns about fraud and sexual harassment,” and has since opened an inquiry into the foundation.
The IPPF official at the centre of the allegations has denied wrongdoing but has been dismissed over “a lack of management controls” in the fraud case. He has appealed this decision and is suspended pending a fresh disciplinary concerns.
An IPFF spokesperson said the charity “has been in regular contact with its donors and regulator throughout this process” and said that over the past year, the task force charged with safeguarding at IPFF has undertaken work to strengthen policies.