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CORRUPTION CRISIS IN MALAYSIAN JUDICIARY IMPACTS ON SHELL LITIGATION

By Alfred and John Donovan

A conspiracy has been exposed at the highest level of the Malaysian judiciary. It involves corrupt politicians and alleged corruption of the highest judicial office in Malaysia: the Chief Justice. The crisis has shaken the country and sparked widespread demands for an urgent overhaul of the judiciary.

Lawyers are organising a protest march for Wednesday 26 September and also plan to submit a demand that Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi should order an inquiry. They plan to boycott court hearings if no formal inquiry is announced.

The scandal stems from an “explosive” video clip of a controversial senior lawyer VK Lingam allegedly in a phone conversation with the current Chief Justice of Malaysia, Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim conspiring to ‘fix’ high profile cases and the promotion of “friendly” senior judges.

The 2002 video conversation also implicates former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, a sitting minister and several serving Appeal Court judges. Among the matters allegedly discussed during the telephone conversation was the appointment of Ahmad Fairuz as the Chief Judge of Malaya and his promotion as the Chief Justice, which subsequently took place in 2003.

According to a quote published on The Malaysian Bar website

“Such a scandalous expose… only serves to corroborate our allegations of a political conspiracy of the highest level and corruption of the highest judicial office, seriously bringing into question the impartiality of judicial proceedings involving the affected parties…”

The video clip can be viewed on their website:

http://www.malaysianbar.org.my/content/view/11222/2/

The fallout in terms of loss of confidence in obtaining impartial justice has inevitably spread to parties involved in current High Court cases, including litigation involving the oil giant Shell.

Royal Dutch Shell has a cosy relationship with the sleazy and oppressive Malaysian regime. It extends to Shell’s main business partner in Malaysia, the state owned Energy Company PETRONAS run by current and former government ministers. Shell keeps the repressed news media sweet by sponsoring press awards. The bottom line is that in Malaysia, money currently buys power and influence. Shell has plenty to spread around.

http://royaldutchshellplc.com/2007/09/03/new-straits-times-malaysia-nstp-wins-6-press-awards-cosy-relationship-between-shell-the-malaysian-government-and-malaysian-press/

THE “TEAM A” CASE

In 2004 a Malaysian High Court ruled in favour of 399 former Shell employees known as “Team A” in a class action lawsuit brought in 2002 against Shell companies in Malaysia. The Judge ruled Shell had acted “unlawfully” in making deductions from employee retirement pension funds. Under a hard-hearted Shell Malaysia management, headed by the then Country Chairman Jon Chadwick, Shell appealed the decision. Many of the relevant former employees are elderly and sick. We understand from a reliable source that about 30 of the original 399 have already died.

In March 2007, three Court of Appeal judges overturned the judgment. Astonishingly, when announcing the decision in court, one of the Appeal Court judges stated as grounds for the decision:

“we don’t believe a company like Shell would do anything like this to employees”.

We managed to obtain a leaked copy of the judgment dated 30 March 2007. It was clear from the judgment that the Appeal Court Judges are either in the pocket of Shell, or ignorant unworldly fools who believe multinational oil giants are incapable of wrongdoing. The latter explanation seems rather unlikely. From what we have read on the Malaysian Bar website, Malaysian lawyers are just as savvy as their American and British cousins.

In paragraph 26 on page 24 of the Appeal Court judgment it is stated in reference to Shell…

“to deduct employees EPF contributions from the lump sum would not only expose them to accusations of illegal action and fraud on employees but would result in no employee getting any benefit from the RBF and in the RBF becoming a futile exercise, and it is inconceivable that those companies would embark on such an absurd, pointless and perilous undertaking.”

This was further confirmation that part of the reasoning for reversing the 2004 decision was on the grounds that Shell would never act fraudulently or unethically. They obviously had not heard about Shell’s track record of engaging in fictitious trades, securities fraud, price fixing cartels, theft of intellectual property, bribes, corruption, organising and arming a private army of police spies in Nigeria, conspiring with successive Nigerian governments to rob billions from a poverty stricken population, the manslaughter of Shell employees, using a registered charity – The Shell Foundation, as a front for commercial objectives, plus many other unsavoury misdeeds recorded in Wikipedia with cited reputable sources of verification.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Controversies_surrounding_Royal_Dutch_Shell

Quite frankly the Appeal Court decision was a disgrace and a further stain on justice in Malaysia.

We understand that “Team A” is seeking leave to appeal the Appeal Court decision to the Federal Court. It seems that they could be wasting their time.

If you think about it logically, there would be no need to bribe every judge. Influence at the higher levels of the judiciary is all that is needed to fix the outcome.

DR JOHN HUONG

In June 2004, EIGHT Royal Dutch Shell companies collectively brought a defamation action against a former Shell production geologist Dr John Huong in respect of alleged libellous comments posted on what Ed Crooks, the Energy Editor of the Financial Times newspaper has described as an anti-Shell website: www.royaldutchshellplc.com (Our website)

The EIGHT Shell companies obtained an “interim injunction” against Dr Huong. In the USA or the UK, an interim injunction lasts for a short period pending a hearing. In Malaysia the original interim injunction still remains in force over 3 years later. There has been no progress in the proceedings. No discovery process. Not even witness statements. Although some court hearings took place after Shell served further proceedings on Dr Huong, including a demand that he be imprisoned for alleged contempt of court, not one word has ever been published in the Malaysian press about the case. How convenient for Shell.

With the litigation hanging over his head year after year, Dr Huong (who blew the whistle internally on the Shell hydrocarbon reserves *securities fraud) has no prospect of obtaining employment in his profession.

On 8 August 2007, we sent an email to Mr Saw Choo Boon, the current Chairman of Shell Malaysia, reminding Shell that over three years ago we notified the trial Judge (and Shell) that the eight plaintiff Shell companies were suing the wrong party in the wrong Country in respect of the wrong website. Shell had issued proceedings naming a website which has never existed and were suing a Malaysian national Dr Huong instead of us (we made the relevant alleged defamatory postings on our U.S. hosted website). We pointed out that the whole proceedings were a complete fiasco and that the pantomime has been allowed to drag on for over three years.

Dr Huong is suing Shell for wrongful dismissal. That case has also been in progress since 2004 with apparently no end in sight.

We have suspected for some time that something was very amiss with the Malaysian judicial process. Now we know that our suspicions were well founded.

We have information relating to Shell, the Malaysian judiciary and corruption that we are not at liberty to reveal.

The outcome for Dr Huong looks no more encouraging than in does for “Team A” unless corrupt Judges are removed from the litigation process.

*THE SHELL SECURITIES FRAUD

It was said in a BBC TV programme “more investors that were affected by this fraud than any other fraud in history”

TRANSCRIPT OF BBC MONEY PROGRAMME FROM JULY 2004 ABOUT THE SHELL RESERVES FRAUD:

http://www.shellnews.net/2004%20Documents/bbc/bbc2moneyprogramme15july04.htm

Shell was fined $150 million by the U.S. and UK financial regulators for “fooling the markets” and Shell has already settled a number of related class action lawsuits. It has set aside $500 million to settle the final case.

This is the multinational oil giant which Malaysian Appeal Court judges believe to be incapable of cheating its employees. Who are they trying to fool?

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