'Irregularities' in Oxfam Pakistan flood funds

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The Independent Online

Oxfam has launched an investigation into its finances after finding "irregularities" in their flood relief programme in Pakistan.

The probe comes after issues were raised with the use of funds in the southern province of Sindh, where the charity has been distributing aid.

After its own internal monitoring identified the irregularities, Oxfam announced that an independent external audit by PricewaterhouseCoopers was under way, and is expected to last three to four weeks.

A spokesman for the charity said they would make every effort to recover any missing money. "Oxfam is committed to upholding the strictest and most rigorous financial controls and ensuring its programme is being delivered in a transparent and accountable manner," the charity said in a statement.

The statement added that the charity will not be making any further financial commitments until the investigation is completed. Oxfam stressed that even if the financial irregularities are confirmed, they would represent less than 2 per cent of their total emergency flood response spending in Pakistan.

More than 1,750 people are thought to have been killed by the floods which began in July last year. Oxfam estimate that 20 million people were affected as the floodwaters washed away crops, submerged villages and destroyed roads. The charity is currently reaching more than 1.95 million people with humanitarian aid in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab and Sindh.