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Amnesty International pay-offs

As a longstanding, though not uncritical, member and supporter of Amnesty International, I was startled to learn that it has paid more than £860,000 to former chief, Irene Khan, and her deputy, Kate Gilmore,  in a pay-off following their departures from Amnesty in 2009.  The story was covered in today’s Sunday Times (£).

Bernard Jenkin, the Conservative MP who chairs the public administration select committee that oversees the Charity Commission, said the payments raised questions about charity sector pay-offs.

“I would like to know whether the Charity Commission considers it to be part of its remit to regulate golden handshakes of this sort,” Jenkin said.

Amnesty insiders are outraged Khan was paid more than four times her annual salary of £132,490. “They basically gave her the equivalent of working for another term,” one informed source said. “It is a ridiculous waste of money that will anger a lot of donors.

These payments represent about 4% of Amnesty’s annual budget – or, to put it another way, the membership payments of about 35,000 members.   It is unclear exactly what circumstances led to such huge pay-offs being necessary, but Jenkin’s questions certainly seem pertinent.

(Hat tip: Normblog)

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