Oxfam’s ‘Star Chamber’ Findings on N’Daw Matter Do Not Meet Minimum Standards of Due Process

The following statement was issued today by Robert Amsterdam of Amsterdam & Partners LLP:

In a recent article published by the Times of London, our client, the former country director for Oxfam in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ms. Corinne N’Daw, was featured in a negative and improper light. The article wrongly indicates that Ms. N’Daw was found guilty of misconduct.

What the newspaper article and Oxfam itself fail to disclose is that the investigation was conducted as a ‘star chamber’ exercise by Oxfam and its team of external investigators and has in fact not been fully concluded as it has not been considered further under Oxfam’s disciplinary procedure.

It in fact also grotesquely fails to disclose the serious procedural irregularities undertaken by Oxfam during this very lengthy investigatory process that began in March 2021. Prior to the inception of this process, Oxfam had instantly cut off Ms. N’Daw’s access to her emails without notice. She was also initially denied access to a legal representative during the investigation and refused to be provided with details of the investigation and the documentation relied on. All serious breaches of the rule of law and relevant codes of practice.

The conduct of Oxfam and the Times in allowing this negligent portrayal of our client represents a grotesque violation of her rights and demonstrates Oxfam’s complete lack of fairness and due process in investigating this matter. The Times of London is disappointingly complicit in the miscarriage of justice against Ms. N’Daw. Our firm only received Oxfam’s letter regarding its position on the investigatory process on 16 March 2022 and is yet to provide a robust response to Oxfam. It is therefore extraordinary, yet unsurprising, that Oxfam has proceeded to the media without providing Ms. N’Daw an opportunity to exercise her legal rights through a response.

We strongly believe that the continued unlawful discrimination that Ms. N’Daw has been subjected to is on the grounds of her race, being a black woman in a high-ranking position within an organisation that is known for bullying complaints against black people in leadership positions. We do not view the extraordinary circumstances in which she finds herself as accidental. We do not believe the current investigation should be given any credence.

Our firm will continue working toward bringing all the facts to light.

  • Robert R. Amsterdam, Founding Partner, Amsterdam & Partners LLP