As a professional Christian, humanitarian organisation, we take our commitment to truth and transparency very seriously. For more than 65 years, we have stayed true to our mission to work with children, families and communities to overcome poverty and injustice around the world.
World Vision is seeking to understand the truth behind the allegations laid against Mohammad El Halabi. World Vision condemns any diversion of funds from any humanitarian organisation and strongly condemns any act of terrorism or support for those activities.
We first learned of the accusations last Thursday, August 4, where the charges were officially presented for the first time. Due to the seriousness of the allegations, World Vision has already suspended operations in Gaza. We are conducting a full review, including an externally conducted forensic audit, and will remain fully engaged with the investigation that is underway.
I think it would have more credibility if the entire review was done externally.
We will examine all the evidence behind the charges, and from those who independently examine our accountability standards. If any of these allegations are proven to be true, we will take swift and decisive action. Unfortunately, we still have not seen any of the evidence. We look forward to an ongoing dialogue to be able to clarify discrepancies, and we call for a fair and transparent legal process.
World Vision’s cumulative operating budget in Gaza for the past ten years was approximately US$22.5 million, which makes the alleged amount of up to US$50 million being diverted hard to reconcile. Mohammad El Halabi was the manager of our Gaza operations only since October 2014; before that time he managed only portions of the Gaza budget. World Vision’s accountability processes cap the amount individuals in management positions at his level to a signing authority of US$15,000.
I think the issue isn’t what was signed off, but where the money actually went.