A manager working in World Vision’s Gaza, Israel office has been accused of funneling organizational funds to Hamas, an Islamist militant group.
Mohammad El Halaby, who has served as manager of operations in the Gaza office, was arrested on his way home from meetings on June 15, according to a World Vision statement. He was charged by Israeli authorities with providing support to Hamas yesterday, after serving 50 days in Israeli state detention.
Multiple news reports place the total amount Halaby allegedly funneled from the organization at more than $40 million since 2010.
“World Vision programs in Gaza have been subject to regular internal and independent audits, independent evaluations, and a broad range of internal controls aimed at ensuring that assets reach their intended beneficiaries and are used in compliance with applicable laws and donor requirements,” the statement reads. “Based on the information available to us at this time, we have no reason to believe that the allegations are true.”
Calls placed to World Vision seeking additional information, including Halaby’s employment status, were not immediately returned.
World Vision has been working in the areas of Jerusalem, West Bank and Gaza since 1975, according to the organization’s website. The Jerusalem-West Bank-Gaza office’s 2014 fiscal year budget was $17.5 million, according to a financial report, nearly $12 million of which came from sponsorship.