Oxfam Temporarily Suspends Some Tsunami Recovery Work

By Oxfam

Oxfam has decided to temporarily suspend part of our operational activities in Aceh Besar, Indonesia, while we investigate financial irregularities in an Oxfam project office there that came to light through our regular internal audit process.

Essential services such as water delivery and waste removal will continue in that district but we have closed the office and suspended other activities -- such as house building and livelihoods support --­ while our auditors thoroughly review the matter. We expect to restart our work within a few weeks, at which point we will prioritize getting the suspended programs back on track.

Because Oxfam believes strongly in transparency and accountability, we decided not to wait until completing our investigation before making the matter public. We have informed the appropriate Indonesian authorities as well as the affected communities. When the audit is complete we will be able to provide other relevant details including the sum of money and number of people involved.

Oxfam has rigorous procedures in place to prevent fraud -- ­which alerted our staff to the irregularities. Based on the audit’s findings, we will be reexamining and strengthening those procedures. We will also do all we can to recover any funds determined to be missing.

The temporary suspension affects just one of our six field offices in Indonesia. Our recovery and rehabilitation work continues elsewhere in the country.

By the end of 2005, Oxfam had received $287 million for tsunami relief, recovery and rebuilding programs, of which we have already spent more than $123 million. More than one-third of that money has been spent in Aceh.

General public inquiries: [email protected]

Related stories:
> New York Times -- Charity Delays Tsunami Work as Audit Finds Irregularities
> Financial Times -- Oxfam probes 'irregular' Aceh tsunami spending

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