According to the latest annual report for 2016/17, £496,000 was lost to fraud and corruption, of which there were 296 reported incidents that year.

The figure was just below the £537,000 lost to fraud over 293 incidents in 2015/16.

The charity pulls in around £300million a year in Government grants.

The annual report said: “We invested substantially to meet our robust organisational counter-fraud objectives, tackling every level of risk (deterrence, prevention, detection and response) across all our programmes to continue to keep incidents of fraud and corruption to an absolute minimum. 

“Of the loss detected in 2016/17, so far we have recovered £34k (six per cent of the detected loss), though as some cases are still ongoing these figures may be revised. 

“Our dedicated anti-corruption team worked to build awareness and capacity amongst country staff, and developed a range of tools, techniques and systems for staff to access.

“They also engaged with other organisations to share best practice and develop sectoral approaches.”

Oxfam says the charity has also stepped up ways of tackling frauds in recent years leading to more cases being identified.

In the 2015/16 annual report, it said: “In 2015/16 recorded suspicions of fraud and corruption rose by 67.4 percent on the previous year, which we attribute to increased vigilance in our programmes following improvements in the nature and reach of anti-fraud education awareness.” 

The sum was just 0.1 percent of the total income of £414million for the year, the charity added, but at the time, just £6,848 of the money has been recovered.

Although the number of reported cases of fraud sky rocketed in 2015/16, the amount of cash lost was down on the £652,149 lost to fraud in 2014/15, when £22,693 was clawed back following internal investigations. 

One high-profile case to hit Oxfam was when its former head of the counter-fraud team was jailed for defrauding the charity out of nearly £65,000 in May 2014.

Edward McKenzie-Green, 34, of Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, as sentenced two years and five months imprisonment for making payments to fictitious firms.

The Old Bailey heard McKenzie-Green made £64,612.58 in payments from Oxfam to fictitious firms between February and December 2011.

The 2015/16 report said more was now being done to limit and identify fraud by Oxfam workers at home and overseas.

The report said: “We recognise that we work in some of the world’s most challenging environments, where fraud and corruption are key risks.

“We do not tolerate fraud or corruption, and have invested substantially in reducing them to an absolute minimum through an approach that tackles every level of risk across all our programmes.”

An Oxfam spokesman told Express.co.uk: “Fraud comes in many types and it is not restricted to one country and is an issue that needs to be taken seriously across all sectors of society.

“We refer cases of fraud to the police. 

“It is not easy to recover losses due to fraud, we however do as much as is possible to ensure that we get most of the money back.” 

The charity has been in the headlines after details of a damning Haiti earthquake scandal in 2011 emerged.

Senior staff members hired prostitutes, who may have been underage, for a “Caligula-style orgy” in earthquake-torn Haiti in 2011, as revealed by a damning report.

The charity was accused of covering up the Haiti scandal after it let three men resign from the charity while firing four others for gross misconduct, according to the confidential report.

Express.co.uk revealed last year that sex abuse allegations within the charity were on the rise.

Daily Express

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