WAR CHILD have defended themselves from accusations made by THE GUARDIAN newspaper this morning (January 10), saying that any alleged financial mismanagement within the charity occurred “years ago” and they are “dealing properly with these historical charges”.
David Bowie and opera star Luciano Pavarotti have pulled their support from the charity following an investigation by the UK newspaper and Channel 4 news, which claimed two War Child employees received a gift of £14,716 in November 1996 from a contractor building a Pavarotti music centre in Mostar, Bosnia. It is claimed the money was returned.
War Child are an international agency who work to help child victims of war. Famously, in 1995 the charity helped put together a compilation album, ‘Help’, when artists including The Stone Roses, Radiohead, The Charlatans, Noel Gallagher and Paul Weller each recorded a song in a day for the album. The proceeds helped suffering children in Bosnia. There is no allegation that any of the money raised from ‘Help’ was misappropriated.
In a statement issued to NME.COM this afternoon, War Child defended their recent history, saying, “no amount of criticism of its distant past can detract from War Child’s award-winning and exceptional work”. They maintain that any “breaches in basic standards of probity ” occurred “years ago”, and “the responsibility to correct these breaches rested with the trustees at that time”, of which none remain at War Child.
War Child also say that the current trustees of the charity are “dealing properly with these historical charges”.
NME.COM also spoke to the UK Charity watchdog the Charities Commission, who have been working with the War Child. A spokesperson there said: “We have been intensively involved with the trustees about a number of financial and administrative matters since they approached us in 1998, and they have acted appropriately and responsibly in bringing their problems to our attention. We are receiving their co-operation as we provide advice and support through this difficult period in the interests of those people, particularly children, who are suffering as a result of war.”
War Child bosses continued: “War Child, like any organisation, is greater than either its employees, its founders, its patrons or its trustees…there is no denying the power of media influence in reporting on the history of War Child. But it is history. War Child started as a ‘Daring and innovative charity’ and the current board, staff and patrons are determined that the ideals at the heart of the charity will remain. It is a committed and focussed team dedicated to the thousands of children who currently depend on our help.”