British United Nations official 'raped Congolese girl, 16, then escaped prosecution'


British United Nations official ‘raped Congolese girl, 16, then paid her family £3,600 and escaped prosecution’

  • British UN official escaped prosecution for allegedly raping Congolese girl
  • Male UN peackeeper allegedly paid teenager £3,600 in cash and goods for sex
  • Complaints were made to the UN, which found the claims were ‘substantiated’
  • UN referred case to the National Crime Agency, which chose not to pursue case

A British United Nations official has escaped prosecution for allegedly raping a teenage girl in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) despite an investigation finding credible evidence against him.

The unidentified man was reportedly working for the UN’s peacekeeping mission in the DRC in July 2017 when he allegedly gave a 16-year-old Congolese girl £3,600 in cash as well as goods in exchange for sex.

The mother of the alleged victim reported her daughter had been raped to Congolese authorities. When they apparently showed little interest, she contacted the UN’s peacekeeping mission in the country.

The UN Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS), the international body’s internal affairs unit, then investigated the allegations and concluded several months later that the family’s claims were ‘substantiated’. 

The employee was dismissed and Britain’s delegation to the UN in New York was alerted to the case. His whereabouts and present employment status are unknown.

Dame Barbara Woodward, the UK Ambassador to the UN, told the Times the case was referred by her office to the National Crime Agency (NCA) in 2018.

However, the NCA reviewed the UN report and consulted the Crown Prosecution Service before deciding not to mount a full investigation. 

A woman and child in Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo, August 5, 2019. File photo

A woman and child in Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo, August 5, 2019. File photo

It is understood that officials decided there were too many inconsistencies in the evidence  and difficulties in operating in the DRC for the case to reach the criminal standard of proof in the UK. 

UK authorities have wide-ranging powers to investigate and prosecute sexual offences committed overseas by British citizens.   

But campaigners for alleged victims of sex offences said the case made a mockery of UK claim to be leading the global effort to improve safeguarding in the aid sector.

Paula Donovan of Code Blue told the Times: ‘The UK’s elaborate public relations conferences and photo opportunities did nothing for the actual child who cried for help after a British UN official raped her and bribed her family with hush money.

‘Knowing the public would never find out, the UK decided behind closed doors not to send even one detective to investigate a series of child rapes.’  

A summary of the OIOS report into the case said ‘a staff member raped a 16-year-old Congolese female and, thereafter, continued to sexually abuse the victim by engaging in transactional sex in exchange for money and goods’. 

It concluded: ‘The investigation substantiated the report and further substantiated a $5,000 settlement agreement between the staff member and the minor’s parent.’ 

A spokesperson for UN peacekeeping reportedly told the Times newspaper: ‘Sexual exploitation and abuse is unacceptable.’

Dame Barbara Woodward, the UK Ambassador to the UN, told the Times the case was referred by her office to the National Crime Agency (NCA) in 2018. However, the NCA reviewed the UN report and consulted the CPS before deciding not to mount a full investigation

Dame Barbara Woodward, the UK Ambassador to the UN, told the Times the case was referred by her office to the National Crime Agency (NCA) in 2018. However, the NCA reviewed the UN report and consulted the CPS before deciding not to mount a full investigation

The employee was dismissed and Britain's delegation to the UN in New York was alerted to the case. His whereabouts and present employment status are unknown

The employee was dismissed and Britain’s delegation to the UN in New York was alerted to the case. His whereabouts and present employment status are unknown

A spokesperson for the NCA told MailOnline:  ‘In February 2018 the FCDO referred a case to the NCA, following a referral from the United Nations regarding an alleged offence committed in the DRC. 

‘The referral and available evidence were fully reviewed and the NCA assessed that there was no realistic likelihood of an investigation for an offence under the Sexual Offences Act (2003) meeting the criteria where it could be brought before the prosecutor for a charging decision.’

They added: ‘The FCDO and NCA are committed to safeguarding and protecting children across the globe from abuse, with our primary aim being to prevent it happening in the first place. 

‘We apply a range of measures including working closely with international partners to help build in-country capacity to tackle the threat, sharing intelligence, and monitoring offenders’ travel.

‘Where we are aware of UK nationals sexually abusing children overseas, we will do all we can to ensure offenders are brought to justice, whether that be in the country where offences are committed or back here in the UK.’ 

UN peacekeeping, the FCDO, the OIOS and the UK delegation to the UN in New York have all been contacted by MailOnline for comment.    

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