“For his audacity in raising the reserves issue, Dr Huong was demoted, appointed as an asset manager with responsibility for helicopter flights. Once again, his integrity got him into trouble when he raised concerns over helicopter safety, recording in internal documents that Shell employees were being used as guinea pigs on test flights.”
By John Donovan
Dr John Huong (right), a deeply religious Malaysian humanitarian, was a loyal Shell employee for 29 years. He was proud of Shell and its claimed business principles until he discovered that they are meant only to deceive stakeholders and the public about the true nature of the company.
Dr Huong, a production geologist, fell out with senior management when he refused to endorse the falsification of hydrocarbon reserve figures. He raised the related ethical dilemma in a Shell internal document:
“Do you want to tell your investors that the volume carried in the ARPR is suspected because a significant change in reservoir work will be expected! How can we live a day with a free conscience by getting money from our investors through the 502F when our depositional model work is in question?”
Dr Huong’s warning predated the reserves scandal, which resulted in the end of the Royal Dutch Shell Group in its original Anglo-Dutch form, with an AGM in the UK for British shareholders (now reduced to second class members in a Dutch company).
For his audacity in raising the reserves issue, Dr Huong was demoted, appointed as an asset manager with responsibility for helicopter flights. Once again, his integrity got him into trouble when he raised concerns over helicopter safety, recording in internal documents that Shell employees were being used as guinea pigs on test flights.
Again, this was not information Shell senior management in Malaysia wanted to receive and he was sacked.
In June 2004, we published information supplied to us by Dr Huong. Royal Dutch Shell responded with the most draconian civil legal action in history. For the next several years, Dr Huong was buried in a blitzkrieg of injunctions brought by eight different companies within the Royal Dutch Shell Group, many seeking his imprisonment. It was of course impossible in such circumstances for him to obtain employment.
The pressure was piled on relentlessly without consideration for the health and well being of Dr Huong, or his family, which included young children. Jon Chadwick, the then chairman of Shell Malaysia phoned his wife directly. Agents arrived at his home at the dead of night to serve more legal papers demanding his imprisonment. Dr Huong’s house was burgled in suspicious circumstances. He expressed concern over surveillance activity and being under threat, took appropriate security measures, including extensive use of body guards.
His life was made a misery despite the fact that his internal whistleblower warnings proved to be uncannily accurate. First the reserves fraud debacle, then Shell helicopters began to fall out of the sky.
Shell’s corporate terrorist tactics eventually resulted in his agreement, under duress, of a settlement of the collective defamation action brought by Royal Dutch Shell companies and of his claim against Shell Malaysia for wrongful dismissal.
The timing of the settlements may have been influenced by litigation against Shell Malaysia by another Shell employee of long standing, Mr John John’s, whose story bears a remarkable resemblance to that of Dr Huong. Mr John’s is another deeply religious man with a young family who set great store by Shell’s business principles, only to end up equally disillusioned.
Jon Chadwick who has now departed from Shell, also had a role in the John John’s story, which again involves allegations of serious misdeeds by senior Shell management followed by litigation, threats, including alleged death threats, by agents allegedly working for Shell.
The litigation involving Dr Huong may have been concluded to prevent similar fact evidence from being exposed in open court.
The litigation involving Mr John John’s is still in progress but the ultimate outcome can be forecast bearing in mind the absence of a level playing field. Shell is corrupt and the Malaysian judiciary is corrupt. Shell business partner, the Malaysian government regime, in power for over 50 years, is also thoroughly corrupt. Hence, like several hundred former employees of Shell Malaysia who sued the company during the tenure of Jon Chadwick, neither Dr Huong or John John’s can expect to obtain impartial justice in Malaysia.
We are not part of the settlement between Royal Dutch Shell companies and Dr Huong. We have in our possession a vast amount of information including comments made by Dr Huong which the Malaysian courts have prohibited from being published on our website. We have no regard for Malaysian courts and will in the coming months publish the prohibited information on a daily basis, starting today.