The amount of money the Israeli Government alleges a World Vision Australia program manager for Gaza diverted to Hamas does not match with the NGO’s total budget in the area, according to chief executive Tim Costello.
However Mr Costello said the figures did not stack up.
“What we know is our total operating budget in Gaza for the past 10 years was approximately $22.5 million, and yet the figures being circulated are up to $50 million has been diverted from him,” he said.
“So how you get to $50 million in the last six or seven years when our total budget in Gaza for 10 years was only $22.5 million is profoundly incomprehensible and we just want to understand this.”
World Vision earlier said in a statement Mr Halabi “was the manager of our Gaza operations only since October 2014”.
“Before that time he managed only portions of the Gaza budget. World Vision’s accountability processes cap the amount individuals in management positions at his level to a signing authority of US$15,000,” it said.
Mr Costello said World Vision had launched a full review of the matter, including an external forensic audit.
“If even $10 was diverted away from children or to terror, that is instantly sackable with us,” he said.
“We have nothing to do with terrorist organisations. We have nothing to do with fraud. That’s how we work in over 65 countries.”
When asked by the ABC if the Israeli Government still stood by figures alleging approximately $US50 million had been taken, Emmanual Nachshon, a spokesman from the country’s ministry of foreign affairs, told the ABC the amount was irrelevant.
“It’s like when you catch a serial killer; the question of whether he killed 50 people or 25 people is not really relevant is it?”, Mr Nachshon said.
He said the Israeli Government had the evidence to back up the charges.
“…We are talking lots of millions, and it will be proven in court,” he said.
Save The Children employee ‘recruited’ by Hamas
Meanwhile, Save the Children said it was looking into Israeli claims a Palestinian staff member in Gaza had been recruited by Hamas, days after charges were filed against Mr Halabi.
Israeli court documents accused the Save the Children member of being enlisted in Hamas’s armed wing.
The ABC contacted the accused staff member but they said they could not talk.
The organisation has been named in the charge sheet of Mr Halabi.
A spokesperson for Save the Children was not aware of the allegations when contacted by the ABC.
They said they were shocked and had not heard anything from Israeli authorities.
The charity later released a statement in which it said it took any allegations of this nature very seriously, and was making inquiries into the matter.
“We are proud of our programs in Gaza, where we have been working since 1973,” Save the Children said in a statement to the ABC.
“We are currently supporting more than 100,000 vulnerable children and their families, providing assistance in several areas, including education, child protection, nutrition, water and sanitation.”
Mr Nachshon said Israeli authorities were preparing to release information soon on a United Nations organisation Israel also alleges is linked to Hamas.
No evidence of the Israeli allegations against any of the non-governmental organisations has been presented in court.