Oxfam boss accused of covering up a sex scandal in a previous job 'knew the man who quit since t
The Oxfam boss accused of covering up a sex scandal at a charity he previously led had known the senior figure who quit over the affair since his ‘student days’ at Oxford, according to a letter leaked to The Mail on Sunday.
Danny Sriskandarajah was director of the Royal Commonwealth Society when the man was allowed to ‘quietly resign’ after being confronted with a secret dossier detailing his encounters with sex workers.
According to a whistleblower, Dr Sriskandarajah helped brush the resignation ‘under the carpet’, raising possible questions about his suitability to lead Oxfam.
Last night both Dr Sriskandarajah (above) and the senior figure strongly denied the claim and insisted they first met when Dr Sriskandarajah was interviewed for the RCS job nine months before he started work. They also questioned if the letter was genuine
The charity appointed him chief executive earlier this year to improve its tarnished image in the wake of the Haiti scandal.
A letter leaked to this newspaper by an RCS insider previously unconnected to the affair now claims that the senior figure, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had known Dr Sriskandarajah ‘since his [Dr Sriskandarajah’s] student days’ at Oxford some four years earlier.
It says they had an ‘ongoing professional relationship’.
Last night both Dr Sriskandarajah and the senior figure strongly denied the claim and insisted they first met when Dr Sriskandarajah was interviewed for the RCS job nine months before he started work. They also questioned if the letter was genuine.
The letter also addresses claims that the man was allegedly instrumental in helping Dr Sriskandarajah secure the top job at the RCS, which was founded in 1868 and whose patron is the Queen. The man vehemently denies doing so.
Separately, similar concerns over Dr Sriskandarajah’s appointment – and the circumstances surrounding the senior figure’s departure – were passed, along with a letter from a second whistleblower, to a Government agency. But no action was taken. The letter claims:
The letter is in the name of Sir Michael McWilliam, former managing director of Standard Chartered Bank, who was chairman of the RCS.
Dated April 2009, a month after the senior figure quit, it is marked ‘confidential draft’ and begins ‘Dear Colleague’.
It appears to be intended for the RCS’s sister organisations, but when shown the letter, Sir Michael said last week he believes it was never sent.
He didn’t question its authenticity. ‘Frankly I’ve never seen that letter, at least I have no recollection of seeing it... but memory is fallible,’ he said.
Asked if it reflected concerns at the time, he said: ‘It reflects someone’s concerns at the time.’
He added: ‘I can see somebody might have drafted this as the sort of thing we ought to do. But I imagine we concluded it wasn’t because… I don’t think we did talk to other organisations.’
Via Daily Mail