By John Donovan
After EIGHT companies within the Royal Dutch Shell Group collectively buried him in legal proceedings, including multiple injunctions, as part of a draconian defamation action in respect of allegations published on this website, former Shell production geologist, Dr John Huong begun assembling evidence to substantiate that the allegations were true.
His efforts were hampered by sinister activities by Shell and repeated attempts by the Shell collective to have him committed to prison for alleged contempt of court in respect of further publications on this website. The High Court Judge told Shell to sue me, not Dr Huong, but Shell insisted for several years in terrorizing Dr Huong and his family to the extent, as already revealed, that he felt it necessary to use body guards.
Now that Shell has withdrawn the action and settled all related litigation, we intend to publish evidence Dr Huong found during his extensive research and start with information about Shell’s misuse/manipulation/abuse of Shell employee pension fund monies. It was supplied to us by Dr Huong in his email dated 9 December 2007.
FIRST FILE (Second file tomorrow)
20050729 Adjudicator tells pension funds employers to play by the rules July 29 2005
Adjudicator tells pension funds, employers to play by the rules July 29, 2005
By Staff Reporters
Vuyani Ngalwana, the Pension Funds Adjudicator, has made it clear in his latest rulings that he will not tolerate employers using pension funds as their fiefdoms, and that all parties involved in managing retirement funds must abide by the rules of the funds and the Pension Funds Act.
Shell Southern Africa Pension Fund and Shell South Africa Energy (Pty) Ltd. Ngalwana ordered the Shell Southern Africa Pension Fund to boost a former members pension by R520 000 in recognition of her part-time employment with Shell South Africa for eight years. He also ordered the funds participating employer, Shell South Africa, to make good the shortfall that could result from increasing the members benefit.
JM Smallberger worked for Shell since 1962, and worked part time between 1979 and 1987. Smallberger says she was refused membership of the pension fund because she was over 35 years of age in 1979.
During the years she worked part time, Smallberger was not allowed to join the pension fund, and therefore this period was not recognised when the fund calculated her retirement benefit. However, Ngalwana found that the fund had two rules that gave the fund and the employer the discretion to take her period of part-time employment into account.
Ngalwana says the reasons given by the fund and Shell for not taking those years into account when calculating Smallbergers pensionable service were not sound in law. He says bearing in mind that Shell could afford to pay the additional amounts required and the purpose behind the rules, the funds trustees should have adjusted Smallbergers benefit.
One of the excuses used by Shell for not recognising Smallbergers service during the years she worked part time was its fear that doing so would set a precedent for the companys 144 temporary employees, who are not entitled to receive any pension benefits.
Ngalwana says this view betrays a misconception of the nature of a discretionary power and that each must be determined on its merits. Furthermore, the discretionary rules do not apply to Shells temporary as opposed to its part-time employees.
Ngalwana points out that Smallberger did not ask for the pension benefit as a temporary employee, but as a pensioner-member of the fund.
Determinations of the Pension Funds Adjudicator: Consolidated Summary
Parties to the complaint: The Group of Concerned SAPREF Pensioners v The SAPREF Pension Fund and Shell and BP South African Petroleum Refineries
Date of determination: 31 August 1998
Type of ruling: Final
Case number: PFA/KZN/25/98
Summary of complaint: Fund surplus – The complainants took issue with the approach of the fund trustees, the company and the fund auditors that they can take advantage of the actuarial surplus of the fund without due consideration of the reasonable benefit expectations of the members of the fund . They sought an order directing the fund to distribute the fund surplus in a manner differently to what was intended.
Parties to the complaint: P A Sligo v Shell Southern Africa Pension Fund and Shell South Africa (Pty) Ltd
Date of determination: 24 August 1998
Type of ruling: Final
Case number: PFA/WE/54/98
Summary of complaint: Deferred pensioners – The dispute relates to an alleged obligation on the part of the fund or the company to provide certain benefits to the complainant derived contractually and/or in terms of the rules of the fund
See details of these two cases
Former Shell employees asking for interest on retirement pay.
By Vong Sokheng
Former employees of Shell oil company are demanding $1 million in interest on retirement benefits recently awarded to Cambodia staff members who worked for the company before 1975.
The staff of Societe Shell du Cambodge (SSC) were forced to stop working when the country was overtaken by the Khmer Rouge in 1975.
In November 2001 SSC’s modern-day equivalent, Shell International Limited, paid retirement benefits totaling $250,000 to 38 former employees, said Bun Khem, one of the claimants.
A further $109,710 was paid in March last year to cover long-overdue retirement benefits owed to 35 other former staff.
Now the 73 former employees are demanding that Shells London-based operations pay 10 percent interest on their retirement benefits, Khem said.
“According to the legal basis, the company has to pay 10 percent as an interest rate of the retirement benefits, which the company was not able to pay after 1975,” Khem said. “I think that the SSC has tried to cheat our money.”
He estimated the interest owed between 1975 and 2003 was about $1 million.
The action comes in response to a similar claim in Vietnam in which Royal Dutch-Shell Group of Companies paid $2 million to nearly 600 Vietnamese workers who lost their jobs without severance pay when the oil company’s Vietnam operations were taken by the communist government.
“Our case is similar to the one already applied in Vietnam, and the same legal basis of operating should clearly consist of interest [paid on retirement funds],” Khem said.
The Cambodian claimants tried to push their request through the British Ambassador in September last year, but were unsuccessful, Khem said.
Phnom Penh Post, Issue 14/17, August 26 – September 8, 2005
© Michael Hayes, 2005