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Correspondence 11 June 2008 with Royal Dutch Shell Company Secretary Michiel Brandjes: Acquisition of Arms and Ammunition in Nigeria

By John Donovan 

I have posted below my self-explanatory email correspondence today with Mr Michiel Brandjes, the Company Secretary and General Counsel Corporate of Royal Dutch Shell Plc. I have also provided a link to the 17 page file which was the subject of the correspondence.


—–Original Message—–

From: John Donovan [mailto:[email protected]]

Sent: woensdag 11 juni 2008 1:22

To: Brandjes, Michiel CM RDS-LC; Alfred Donovan

Cc: Ollila, Jorma RDS-RDS/CH

Subject: Acquisition of Arms and Ammunition

Dear Mr Brandjes

I attach a PDF file containing 17 pages of documents and correspondence involving The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited, a Deputy Inspector General of the Nigerian Police and other parties involved in the tender/acquisition of arms and ammunition to enhance the security of Shell installations in Nigeria.

These documents, if authentic, appear to directly contradict detailed rebuttal comments attributed to SPDC published on 10 June 2008 by

The article:

Furthermore, we also have a copy of a newspaper article from 1996 which contains the following paragraph…

Shell, the multinational oil giant, has admitted importing  weapons into Nigeria to help arm the police. The company revealed to the  Observer that the weapons are to help protect its oil installations. However,  activists accuse Shell of arming the death squads who have been brutally  suppressing the Ogoni people. 

Could you kindly confirm as a matter of urgency if the documents are authentic and if so please explain the contradictions with the current specific rebuttal comments attributed to Shell.

As per usual, we are giving Shell the opportunity to correct any misunderstanding or inaccuracy before moving forward on the matter. Any comment you supply will be published by us on an unedited basis.  If I receive no initial response by 3pm UK time today, I will assume the documents are authentic and will act on that basis. If you need more time to check matters out, then kindly let me know by 3pm today and in that event, please indicate when we can expect a substantive response. We would prefer to delay rather than publishing any potentially inaccurate information.

Best Regards

John Donovan


On 11/06/2008 13:33, “[email protected]” <[email protected]> wrote:

Dear Mr. Donovan, 

This is one of those matters where Shell does not see a need to respond to you. However, the lack of a rebuttal from, or comment by, Shell does not in any way constitute an acceptance on Shell’s part of the accuracy of any of the materials forwarded by you, whether now or in the future, and whether on this or on any other matter, and we continue to reserve our position accordingly in respect of those matters.

Best Regards and Have a Splendid Summer,

Michiel Brandjes

Company Secretary and General Counsel Corporate

Royal Dutch Shell plc

Registered office: Shell Centre London SE1 7NA UK

Place of registration and number: England 4366849

Correspondence address: PO Box 162, 2501 AN  The Hague,

The Netherlands

Tel: +31 70 377 2625 Fax: 3687

Email: [email protected]

Internet: <>    



From: John Donovan <[email protected]>

Date: Wed, 11 Jun 2008 17:18:24 +0100

To: <[email protected]>

Cc: “[email protected]” <[email protected]>

Conversation: Acquisition of Arms and Ammunition

Subject: Re: Acquisition of Arms and Ammunition 


Dear Mr Brandjes

I am grateful to you for replying within the requested time and note the tedious standard formula response.

Since I believe you would have pointed out if any of the documents were fake or forged, I will move forward on the basis that they are authentic. You had the opportunity to indicate otherwise and have not done so.  

On this basis, the statement by Shell Spokesman , Mr Precious Okolobo, that “at no time did SPDC apply to the IG for permit to import arms and ammunition into Niger Delta or Nigeria at large” was plainly false. I am sure you would have gleefully pointed out if he was misquoted.

It is unfortunate that Shell is playing games trying to evade legitimate important questions over issues of interest to shareholders, particularly those such as myself, concerned at the recent news of Shell’s pending loss of licence to operate in the Niger Delta.  

Is it shameful that a multinational giant should repeatedly find itself in the position of having to use such evasive legal jargon directly at odds with the core principle of transparency in all of Shell’s dealings, as pledged in Shell’s Business Principles.  

I appreciate that the Shell in-house anti-Donovan team set up to counter the Shell insider leaks emerging regularly from our website said that ammunition should not be given to us (no pun intended). However the constant hiding behind such tactics really is unbecoming for the Company Secretary of Royal Dutch Shell Plc. This is not meant as an attack on you but on the management using you in this way.  

We have been complaining about the deceit and hypocrisy of Shell senior executives for over a decade, yet nothing changes, even after the reserves disgrace.

Best Regards

John Donovan


This website and sisters,,,, and, are owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia segment.

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