Oxfam: Some Pakistani Flood Aid Stolen

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OXFORD, England, Aug. 13 (UPI) — An official with a Pakistani group was fired for allegedly embezzling $260,000 intended for flood victims, officials at the British charity Oxfam said.

An independent financial investigation discovered the missing funds after Oxfam found falsified invoices and checks had been used to divert money in a pair of flood victim relief projects managed by Pirbhat Women’s Development Society, a Pakistani agency working with the charity, The Daily Telegraph reported Saturday.

Oxfam said it hopes to recover the funds allegedly taken between September and March by the employee, described by the Telegraph as a senior official working for the society who was fired in May.

“We will recover every penny of this money and continue to ensure that donors’ funds reach the people who need it most,” said Neva Khan, Oxfam’s country director in Pakistan.

“Oxfam has a zero-tolerance policy towards corruption and we, and all our partners, share a commitment to high legal, ethical and moral standards,” Khan said. “Corruption is never acceptable. It, literally, takes away food from people’s mouths; takes away clean water to give them life; and takes money away that could provide people with better hygiene and shelter.”

Pirbhat said in a statement it has taken steps have been taken to preclude a recurrence.

“We feel that our good work and our name has been blackened because of the action of one senior individual who has badly let us down as well as the communities we work with,” the society said.

About 1,750 Pakistanis died and another 18 million were displaced in last year’s widespread flooding, which some said was the worst natural disaster they had ever seen.

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