UK Charity Director In Africa Involved In Scandal Including Sending ‘Witch Porn’ To Female Worker.

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A major UK charity has failed to remove from office a senior director accused of bullying whistleblowers, corruption and sexual harassment – including sending ‘witch porn’ to a female executive.

The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), a family planning group employing 30,000 staff and heavily backed by British aid, kept the head of its Africa operations despite being warned six years ago by the Kenyan government of ‘serious allegations’ against him and other officials.

Regional director Lucien Kouakou was subsequently at the centre of a scandal over fraud, sexual harassment and abuse of staff.

Yet he has not been ousted after the IPPF’s African regional executive accused the London-based charity of ‘an attack of the whole African region’.

And the department for international development (Dfid) has given the group £132million for a three-year project, despite pledges to stop funding organisations guilty of exploitation.

‘The whole system at the organisation is riddled with opportunities for corruption but there is simply no willpower to tackle it,’ said one former insider.

Documents seen by The Mail on Sunday show:

  • Senior IPPF officials accused of taking tens of thousands of pounds in expenses for attending ‘partner meetings’ that never took place in Senegal, Ivory Coast and Togo;
  • One senior manager, later sacked, took $120,000 (£91,000) and $121,900 (£92,400) in cash for expenses at two of the meetings;
  • Rampant fraud such as spending $22,620 (£17,000) for translation services from a fake firm in Senegal and $20,600 (£15,600) on fees for non-existent schools in Ghana;
  • Concerns of ‘malpractice’ surrounding the $1.37million (£1.04million) purchase of less than an acre of ‘swampland’ in Kenya;
  • Mr Kouakou kept his job despite being found to have bullied whistleblowers and claims he tried to cover up corruption;
  • Allegations he sent a ‘witch porn’ video featuring a snake and naked woman to a senior female staff member to intimidate her.

The furore is a blow to one of Britain’s most influential aid charities, founded 67 years ago to fight for women’s rights, and the latest setback for a sector that has seen some of its best-known names damaged by a spate of scandals.

A spokesman for IPPF said they had ‘a zero-tolerance policy on fraud, investigate all allegations and comply with all obligations to contact donors and our regulator’.

He added the charity was committed to safeguarding staff.

Dfid said it learned about the allegations of fraud in August last year and had since been kept up to date with IPPF investigations. A departmental source said they had halted the contract award when alerted to the case but found IPPF controls ‘were sufficiently robust to justify continued funding’.

 

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