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Posts under ‘Corporate Governance’

BHP Billiton unveils board shake-up as two directors depart

23 AUGUST 2017 • 11:07AM

The world’s largest mining company is to shake up its board after two directors announced they would be stepping down – one after just six months. The FTSE 100 group also announced that former Shell executive Malcolm Brinded would be stepping down after three years on the board as a non-executive. Mr Brinded would not be seeking re-election “given his involvement in ongoing legal proceedings in Italy relating to his prior employment with Shell”, Mr Nasser said. Shell, where Mr Brinded was a director for 10 years until 2012, is facing an investigation over alleged corrupt payments to acquire an oilfield off the shore of Nigeria in 2011.  read more

Retired Shell official accuses company of ‘more leaks than the White House’

Bill Campbell, retired HSE GROUP AUDITOR, Shell International, comments on Paddy Briggs damning conclusion about Shell FAT CATS

The Lonely Elephant

Prelude may or may not turn out to be a white elephant but certainly from the leaked transformation documents it would appear it will be in any case a lonely elephant. 20 some years in gestation it appears that mega FLNG projects are out. As for the fat cats Paddy if Shell continues to leak (Pernis et al), more leaks than the White House, the fat cats may not be around. Are they taking their eye of the ball – who is running the business, with all this transformation stuff and reported loss of common sense and experience I read about on this website from current employees, it makes you think. read more

Kiobel Writ: Shell bribed witnesses in Ogoni 9 trial

Already during the trial in 1995 two witnesses testified that they had been bribed to make incriminating statements in exchange for money and a job at Shell. In their statements Nkpah and Danwi named a number of other witnesses who were bribed by Shell and the regime…: Separate extract: “We knew that Shell, the prosecutor and the members of the tribunal were working hand in glove with each other. 

By John Donovan

The numbered paragraphs below are extracted from the 138 page Esther Kiobel Writ served on multiple Royal Dutch Shell companies on 28 June 2017. More information about the latest litigation, this time in the Dutch Courts, is provided after the extracts. As can be seen in the footnotes, the allegations are supported by voluminous evidence.  

Shell and the Abacha regime operated in tandem

Extracts begin

8.6 Shell contributed to the outcome of the Ogoni 9 trial

8.6.1 Shell was involved in the bribery of witnesses

Already during the trial in 1995 two witnesses testified that they had been bribed to make incriminating statements in exchange for money and a job at Shell. Charles Danwi and Naayone Nkpah made a statement under oath on video on 16 and 27 February 1995 respectively, which was submitted as an affidavit to the Civil Disturbances Tribunal.409 The Tribunal however disregarded the evidence. In their statements Nkpah and Danwi named a number of other witnesses who were bribed by Shell and the regime, that is Celestine Meabe, Kevin Badara,410 Limpa Bah, Peter Fii, Saturday Iye and David Keenom (exhibit 45: Public Deposition Naayone Nkpah, 19 March 2004, pp. 19-22; exhibit 21: Affidavit Charles Danwi, 16 February 1995).411 The false statements of these bribed witnesses were decisive in the conviction of the Ogoni 9.412 The statements of Danwi and Nkpah show that shortly after the murders of the traditional Ogoni leaders they were pressured by the main prosecution witnesses Alhaji Kobani (the brother of the murdered Edward Kobani) and Priscilla Vikue413 to sign a false statement in which they accused the since apprehended MOSOP and NYCOP leaders of the murders.414 Initially they refused to do this, whereupon they were placed under house arrest for some time. Danwi testified that he was then promised the following:

“I was promise[d] that after the case in Court I will be given a house any place in the country, a Contract from Shell and OMPADEC and some amount of money to buy my musical instrument. […] On another date of meeting in Kobani’s House, representative from Shell, OMPADEC, security agents, Govt officials and the Kobani, Orage and Badey’s family were present and they all agreed. The family gave some money say that the money come from Govt. and Shell. In my case I was given N 30,000,- from Shell and Govt.”415

  • Nkpah testified to the same effect and in his fuller statement in the American Kiobel case also said who was involved in the bribery. Apart from Alhaji Kobani and some other family members of the murdered Ogoni chiefs, they were also various representatives of the regime and the oil industry, among them Shell’s lawyer O.C.J. Okocha.416 Nkpah was also promised a house, 30,000 naira and a contract at Shell, OMPADEC or the government.417 In his deposition he said that Celestine Meabe had asked Alhaji Kobani where the 30,000 naira came from, to which Kobani replied:

    “This money come from Shell, government of Nigeria. This is why the chairman, the lawyer representative is here.”.418

  • Kobani introduced this Shell lawyer to Nkpah as O.C.J. Okocha.419 Nkpah also said that Kobani had told him that “anything that is being given to us […] basically is from the government and the Shell and Ubadek [OMPADEC]”.420
  •  Just like Danwi, in exchange for signing the false testimony Nkpah was given a job in the transport section of the municipality of Gokana where, in addition to the 30,000 naira, he received a monthly salary without actually being employed.421
  • Gani Fawehinmi, the suspects’ lawyer, introduced Danwi’s statement on the second day of the Ogoni 9 trial (on 21 February 1995):

    “My Lord, he [Charles Danwi] is number 22 on the list of witnesses. He has sworn to an Affidavit and he has exhibited what is called a principal statement. He accused the Government [and] Shell Development Company for bribing him with thirty thousand naira (N30.000) and a house. He has made a full disclosure that what they have was not his statement […].”422

  •  Although Kiobel’s lawyer Alhaji Oso again tried to stress the importance of the bribery on the third day423 and explained that the reliability of the witnesses was the basis of the case,424 Nkpah and Danwi’s affidavits were not admitted as exculpatory evidence.425 At that point, Danwi and Nkpah had already gone into hiding out of fear for repercussions by the regime and could not therefore give evidence to the hearing. Their fear proved to be well-founded: both men were put on the regime’s blacklist.426 Ultimately they were forced to flee Nigeria and they were accepted as refugees in Benin.427
  • Nkpah is currently living in the United States and is prepared to substantiate his statements in detail as a witness if necessary. Danwi’s current whereabouts are unknown.
  • 8.6.2 Shell maintained direct contact with the judges of the Special Tribunal during the trial read more

    Shell’s leaked global organisation changes: Part 3

    By John Donovan

    Today we publish another sizeable chunk from Shell’s current internal consultative document which, although directed at Shell’s Dutch employees, includes a detailed description of Shell’s proposed global organisation changes. Still no legal action by Shell to prevent publication of its plans. 

    Consequences of the proposed change for the current PTD global organisation EC-1, -2 &-3

    As shown above a new integrated Technology organization is proposed to be created that will consolidate all technology development and deployment activities, and will provide end-to-end accountability for technology commercialisation. The current PTD organization would become part of the new Technology organization. read more

    Alarming news today of potential fire and explosion on Shell North Sea platform

    By John Donovan

    History is repeating itself. Shell is in the news today over its  dangerous North Sea oil platform activities.

    Nearly 20 years ago, Shell senior management ignored warnings by HSE Auditor Bill Campbell about the Touch Fuck All regime on the Brent Bravo platform and its potential impact on worker safety. Production and profits were the overriding consideration. Maintenance records were routinely falsified. Lives were put at risk.

    Shell EP MD Malcolm Brinded promised to take action based on the scandalous state of affairs Mr Campbell’s team had discovered when he led the safety audit on the platform. The promises were not kept. As a result, platform workers subsequently lost their lives in what was judged by the Scottish legal authorities to be an avoidable accident on Brent Bravo. A record-breaking fine was imposed on Shell. read more

    Kiobel Writ: Shell and the Abacha regime operated a joint intelligence service

    The extent of Shell’s infiltration of Nigerian politics later became clear from the messages from the American embassy in Nigeria published by WikiLeaks. In them Executive Vice President of Shell in Africa at the time, Ann Pickard, boasted to the American ambassador that the Nigerian government had forgotten that Shell had seconded people to every ministry in the Nigerian government and was therefore aware of everything happening there

    By John Donovan

    The numbered paragraphs below are extracted from the 138 page Esther Kiobel Writ served on multiple Royal Dutch Shell companies on 28 June 2017. More information about the latest litigation, this time in the Dutch Courts, is provided after the extracts. As can be seen in the footnotes, the allegations are supported by volumous evidence.

    Shell and the Abacha regime operated in tandem

    Extracts begin:

    8.4.4 Shell and the regime operated a joint intelligence service

    267. Together with the State Security Service (“SSS”, the national intelligence and security service) Shell maintained its own network of informants. According to George Ukpong, Shell had daily contact with the commissioner of police of Rivers State and the director of the SSS in this period.362 The SSS, according to Upkong, “is one of the security agencies rendering valuable assistance in support of SPDC security operations in the state”; the SSS “has provided assistance in meeting some of our staff training needs” and “has been of particular assistance to [Shell] in the area of crime intelligence acquisition”. read more

    SHELL JOBS UPHEAVAL

    By John Donovan

    Today we publish the opening pages of Shell’s internal consultative document which, although directed at Shell’s Dutch employees, includes a detailed description of Shell’s proposed global organisation changes.

    With regards to the Shell VP musical chairs analogy, a Shell Blog contributor has pointed out “50% of VPs would have to leave, and GM level even more.”

    The content of the Shell document is all valuable, commercially sensitive insider information, most definitely not meant for consumption by the public, Shell shareholders, or Shell’s competitors.  read more

    Kiobel Writ: Shell encouraged military offensive against MOSOP

    Owens Wiwa, brother of Ken Saro Wiwa, outside Shell headquarters in London

    In 1994 the Nigerian regime of Sani Abacha began a large-scale military offensive in Ogoniland to break the population’s resistance to Shell’s activities and to clear the way to a resumption of oil production.

    By John Donovan

    The numbered paragraphs below are extracted from the 138 page Esther Kiobel Writ served on multiple Royal Dutch Shell companies on 28 June 2017. More information about the latest litigation, this time in the Dutch Courts, is provided after the extracts.

    EXTRACTS FROM ESTHER KIOBEL JUNE 2017 WRIT

    8.3 Shell facilitated Operation Restore Order in Ogoniland

    218. In 1994 the Nigerian regime of Sani Abacha began a large-scale military offensive in Ogoniland to break the population’s resistance to Shell’s activities and to clear the way to a resumption of oil production. Not long after the offensive was announced, the leaders of MOSOP and any other prominent Ogoni were arrested, resulting in the death of the Ogoni 9 in 1995. read more

    Kiobel Writ: Shell supported the Abacha army in fake ‘ethnic conflicts’

    Between July 1993 and April 1994 hundreds of Ogoni were killed and thousands became homeless as a result of apparent ethnic conflicts between the Andoni, the Okrika and Ndoki and the Ogoni population groups. The biggest attack took place on the Ogoni village of Kaa on 4 and 5 August 1993, when an estimated 35 to 124 villagers died; The regime later proved involved in the attacks itself, with Shell providing a helping hand.

    By John Donovan

    The numbered paragraphs below are extracted from the 138 page Esther Kiobel Writ served on multiple Royal Dutch Shell companies on 28 June 2017. More information about the latest litigation, this time in the Dutch Courts, is provided after the extracts.

    EXTRACTS FROM ESTHER KIOBEL JUNE 2017 WRIT 

    8.2.5  Shell supported the army in fake ‘ethnic conflicts’

    203. Between July 1993 and April 1994 hundreds of Ogoni were killed and thousands became homeless as a result of apparent ethnic conflicts between the Andoni, the Okrika and Ndoki and the Ogoni population groups. The biggest attack took place on the Ogoni village of Kaa on 4 and 5 August 1993, when an estimated 35 to 124 villagers died; widespread looting also took place and possessions and homes were destroyed.250 Despite repeated requests to this effect from MOSOP to Rufus Ada George and President Abacha, the Nigerian regime did not intervene in this period.251 The regime later proved involved in the attacks itself, with Shell providing a helping hand. read more

    Groningen earthquakes: Shell trying everything to deny responsibility

    Comment by a Dutch farmer in relation to the article The Abrupt Demise Of Dutch Gas

    In this article, I miss the human rights factor, and the fact that governments are in the first place for the safety and protection of property of their inhabitants.

    The current situation is that government and SHELL have completely destroyed many hundreds of beautiful historical farms and churches, and 100.000 houses in the area are severely damaged, to be destroyed as well in years to come if the gaz exploitations continues in Groningen.

    After all the destruction in the area, the bill is for the home owner. The compensated value is only 95% after their house is damaged many times, and already half the value. read more

    Shell’s shocking toxic legacy

    ABOUT THE PROJECT

    The Niger Delta is Africa’s biggest oil-producing region, and one of the most polluted places on earth. Every year hundreds of oil spills destroy the environment and devastate the lives of communities living there.

    Some oil companies operating in the Niger Delta, such as Shell, publish oil spill investigation reports on their websites. But in the past they made false claims regarding the cause and size of oil spills to pay less compensation and avoid properly cleaning up the pollution.

    Help Amnesty researchers analyse thousands of these oil spill investigation reports – use your computer or phone and dedicate as little as 30 seconds to verify the cause, location or image of an oil spill.

    Your work will help us expose cases of false and misleading information and enable local communities demand proper clean-up and rehabilitation of pollution and environmental damage. read more

    Kiobel Writ: SHELL COMPLICITY IN HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS

    Shell was repeatedly behind excessively violent action by the regime against the Ogoni and other population groups that were protesting against Shell. During the trial Shell was also in direct contact with the Tribunal judges and Shell’s counsel assisted the regime in bribing witnesses.

    By John Donovan

    The numbered paragraphs below are extracted from the 138 page Esther Kiobel Writ served on multiple Royal Dutch Shell companies on 28 June 2017. More information about the latest litigation, this time in the Dutch Courts, is provided after the extracts.

    8. SHELL IS COMPLICIT IN THE HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS AGAINST THE OGONI 9 AND THE CLAIMANTS

    8.1 Introduction

    160. As explained in the previous chapter, under Nigerian law encouraging or inciting human rights violations, promoting or contributing to them, sharing in making them possible or facilitating them leads to complicity. read more

    Shell Executive Director Who Stole Nigeria’s Oil Money

    By John Donovan

    Nigerian Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke is back in the news. She must have Shell oil running through her veins.

    Both of her parents worked for Shell. She joined Shell and went to the top becoming an executive director of Shell in Nigeria. She was subsequently appointed Nigerian Minister of Petroleum Resources in March 2010 by the corrupt Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan, later implicated with Shell in the OPL 245 scandal. 

    Her elevation continued. She became the first female president of the OPEC – the oil price fixing cartel. read more

    Kiobel Writ: PROCEEDINGS IN THE UNITED STATES

    The defendants were accused of complicity in various human rights violations and crimes committed against the Ogoni in Nigeria, including summary executions, crimes against humanity, torture, inhuman treatment, arbitrary arrest and detention, criminally negligent homicide, indecent assault and ill-treatment. In the case against Royal Dutch/Shell it was also argued that the company acted contrary to the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act. On 8 June 2009, with the trial on the point of starting, Shell and the claimants agreed an out-of-court settlement. Shell paid the claimants a sum of $15.5 million in damages. 

     By John Donovan

    The numbered paragraphs below are extracted from the 138 page Esther Kiobel Writ served on multiple Royal Dutch Shell companies on 28 June 2017. More information about the latest litigation is provided after the extracts.

    PROCEEDINGS IN THE UNITED STATES

    5.1 Introduction

    120. Following the execution of their husbands, the claimants were subject to constant threats and harassment by the Nigerian regime.162 Esther Kiobel, like many other Nigerians who became victims of Shell and the military regime, resettled in the United States from the refugee camp in Benin. In the United States two groups of victims and surviving dependants demanded damages from Shell in a civil action. The Saro-Wiwa case ended in an out-of-court settlement (see section 5.2). In the case brought by inter alia claimant 1, Esther Kiobel, the American Supreme Court ultimately did not consider that the American courts had jurisdiction to judge the case (see section 5.3). read more

    Kiobel Writ: Death penalty for the Ogoni 9

    THE OGONI 9 SHOW TRIAL

    The numbered paragraphs below are extracted from the 138 page Esther Kiobel Writ served on multiple Royal Dutch Shell companies on 28 June 2017. More information about the latest litigation is provided after the extracts.

    4.6 Death penalty for the Ogoni 9

    1. On 31 October 1995 the tribunal imposed the death penalty on nine suspects.
    2. Kiobel’s father sent a letter to Abacha seeking clemency on 7 November 1995 (exhibit 11), wherein he writes: “there is a misunderstanding, he tries to make peace”.151 The wives of those sentenced to death, including Esther Kiobel and Victoria Bera, also made an appeal to Abacha on 8 November 1995 (exhibit 12):
      “As Your Excellency is no doubt aware there is no right of appeal against the judgment of the Tribunal that convicted and sentenced our husbands so there is no forum to test the correctness or otherwise of the said decision. Besides, our husbands have to do without the services of lawyers of their choice through no fault of theirs mid way their trial; Even at the point of conviction our husbands still maintained and we are convinced of their innocence. […] Let your verdict not make us widows and our children fatherless.”152
    3. The wives explicitly refer to the lack of the possibility to initiate an appeal. The Decree of 1987 after all rules out a (more senior) court, independent of the tribunal and the regime, hearing the case again in its entirety and rectifying any legal errors. Section 7 of the Decree does say that any sentence imposed by the tribunal may not take effect until confirmed by ‘the confirming authority’.153 However, this authority cannot overturn the sentence. It is also unclear whether refusal of confirmation is possible and whether refusal would be the same as acquittal.
    4. The authority required to confirm the findings of the tribunal, the Armed Forces Ruling Council, was part of the military regime. At the time of the trial the powers of this body had transferred to the Provisional Ruling Council (PRC), newly set up by Abacha.154 The members of the PRC met on 8 November 1995. A memo of the meeting (exhibit 176) shows that Abacha was the chairman of this meeting and that:
      “He was of the view that no sympathy should be shown on the convicts so that the sentence would be a lesson to everybody. He stated that the Ogoni issue had lingered on for a very long time and should be addressed once and for all.”
    5. The Secretary-General of the United Nations said of the PRC: “The PRC confirmed the conviction and sentence even before the records of the trial were received,” and “the haste with which the sentences were confirmed by the Provisional Ruling Council PRC) implies that the Government had made up its mind and was not interested in a fair consideration of the case.”155 The memo of the meeting also shows that reconsideration of the sentence imposed by the tribunal was never an option for the members of the PRC. To prevent the regime coming across as weak, the execution had to be put into effect as soon as possible.156
    6. Meanwhile, complaints about the trial were also considered by the African Commission on Human and Peoples ́ Rights.157 When the African Commission became aware that the sentence had been confirmed by the PRC, provisional measures were imposed on the Nigerian government to prevent irreparable damage: Nigeria was to postpone the executions until the Commission had had the opportunity to discuss the case with the government.158 This call was ignored by the Nigerian regime and the next day, 10 November 1995, the nine convicts, despite national and international protests,159 were brought to death by hanging in the Federal Prisons in Port Harcourt.160
    7. The African Commission stated regarding the executions and the ignoring of the provisional measures: “Execution in the face of the invocation of rule 111 defeats the purpose of this important rule. […] This is a blot on the legal system of Nigeria which will not be easy to erase. To have carried out the execution in the face of pleas to the contrary by the Commission and world opinion is something which we pray will never happen again. That this is a violation of the Charter is an understatement.”161
    Extracts end Footnotes

    151 Exhibit 11: Plea for clemency for Dr Barinem Kiobel, 7 November 1995.

    152 Exhibit 12: Plea for clemency on behalf of our convicted husbands, 8 November 1995.

    153 Decree No. 2 1987, section 7 (see Birnbaum (exhibit 255), para. 8.14: “Any sentence imposed by the Tribunal shall not take effect until the conviction or sentence is confirmed by the confirming authority. The confirming Authority may confirm or vary the sentence of the Tribunal.” read more

    More Shell News 13 July 2017

    How Europe’s Monster Gas Field Turned Into a Monster Headache: Bloomberg: 13 July 2017

    Judge to consider demands to close Europe’s largest gas field; Groningen has contributed almost 300 billion euros to budget; What was once a blessing is now an expensive curse; Officials are also considering criminal charges against NAM executives READ MORE

    Corrib gas timeline: 20 years of protests and controversy: The Irish Times: 13 July 2017

    June 2005 – High Court jails five men who became known as the “Rossport Five” for contempt of court over their continued protests over the pipeline route. READ MORE

    Trump administration approves Eni plan to drill offshore Alaska: Reuters: 13 July 2017

    Royal Dutch Shell Plc quit its exploration quest offshore Alaska in 2015 after a ship it had leased suffered a gash in mostly uncharted waters… READ MORE read more

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