Corruption, Sexual Harassment And Bullying Take Toll On International Planned Parenthood Federation, Nairobi Office

Alvaro Bermejo, the IPPF director general. IMAGE/ COURTESY
Alvaro Bermejo, the IPPF director general. IMAGE/ COURTESY

Top leadership of the International Planned Parenthood Federation Africa (IPPFA) at global level of the organization have been accused of covering-up corruption, sexual harassment, bullying and harassment of whistle-blowers and staff in general at IPPF Africa Region Office in Nairobi.

Kahawa Tungu’s investigative desk has learnt that these acts of gross misconduct perpetrated by the Regional Director in Africa Region began being reported in 2017. Since 2017, three investigations were conducted, managed from both Regional and Central Office in London. However, the investigations did not delve into the issues raised by a number of staffers who have constantly been victimised.

One of the investigation report which clearly concluded that the Regional Director engaged in persistent behavior of harassing and bullying staff and recommended that disciplinary action be taken against the Regional Director, was simply ignored and never acted upon.

A recently concluded investigation, despite bearing overwhelming evidence, was managed to produce an outcome that did not reflect the complaints and evidence provided.

According to a well placed source in the federation, a number of senior staff have resigned and most staff who are still with the organization are frustrated, feel insecure and have no protection whatsoever. The staffers have nowhere to report their frustrations, for fear of victimisation.

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“The new Director General in London while he has talked about creating a safe work environment for staff he has proven to be ineffective in taking action. Under his watch, staff have been harassed leading to their resignation,” says our source, who has been mistreated in the company.

“The IPPF Central Office in London is not willing to adequately and thoroughly investigate the allegations raised and take action to ensure that the organization is a safe place for staff to work,” adds our source, who sought anonymity.

Knowing that the staffers would soon reach their elastic limit and leak the rot to the media, the organisation played top-notch PR stunts to show that it was acting upon the allegations. However, evidence in possession of Kahawa Tungu’s investigative desk shows that the problem is far from over, even after the exit of one of the regional managers Lucien Kouakou who left on November 27.

“The IPPF Director General based in London announced that the Regional Director had been terminated in connection with fraud that occurred in 2017 whose investigations had been bungled and frustrated by all levels. The decision to terminate the Regional Director was due to fear by IPPF that those holding the evidence of corruption, bullying and harassment and sexual harassment would release this information to the media and would cost the organization dearly,” says our source.

Unknown to IPPF, Kahawa Tungu had been doing independent investigation for weeks before they decided to take action.

Further, this desk learnt that anonymous letters had been sent to the charity commission in London and donors to further whistle-blowing about these issues on how IPPF had handled the investigations and how they had deliberately failed to protect whistleblowers who risked their careers and lives to save the organization from future misconduct by the Regional Director.

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An email sent by Alvaro Bermejo, the IPPF director general, clearly shows that the management had been aware of what was going on in the company, but failed to act leaving a good number of employees exposed.

Here’s the mail sent on November 27:-

Dear Colleagues,

I wrote to all of you in October about the outcome of the recent investigation held within the African Regional Office of IPPF. I explained then that some outstanding matters remained, which I would deal with quickly. I am contacting you again now to update you. 

The outstanding matters concerned a fraud incident which took place in ARO in 2017 (which IPPF declared to be a serious incident at the time to its regulator, the UK Charity Commission, and donors).

All evidence was investigated at the time and action taken as a result. However, the recent investigation in ARO brought to light new information concerning management controls and oversight in connection with this fraud.

It has now been fully investigated by independent auditors, and a subsequent disciplinary process conducted. As a result, Lucien Kouakou has left IPPF today.

Staff within the Africa Regional Office will be meeting first thing tomorrow with Claire Jefferey, who is in Nairobi to support them. I am taking steps to ensure the Africa Regional Office continues to work as usual, and we will move to fill the post of Regional Director permanently as fast as possible.

Kahawa Tungu’s investigative desk will serialize the story, exposing the rot in the organisation. Keep it Kahawa Tungu.

Do you have a story you want told? Do you know of a sensitive story you would like us to get our hands on? Email your news TIPS to  Also WhatsApp 0708677607 with your news tips

Written by Francis Muli

Follow me on Twitter @francismuli_. Email


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