‘Calm before the storm’ – PNG’s Bryan Kramer vows to fight on

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PNG anti-corruption campaigner Bryan Kramer
PNG anti-corruption campaigner Bryan Kramer . . . “The decision to dismiss me was expected." Image: PNG Post-Courier

PNG Post-Courier

Dissident Papua New Guinean politician and former cabinet minister Bryan Kramer has vowed to fight on in his campaign against corruption, saying the National Court ruling to dismiss him as an MP was “the calm before the storm”.

“The decision to dismiss me was expected and of course, it is certainly not the end of the issue as I have already been working on an appeal to challenge both the rulings on verdict and penalty in the National Court,” he told reporters in Port Moresby

Kramer, a former police minister then justice minister, was responding to the decision on recommendations for his dismissal and a fine of K10,000 (NZ$4600).

“Today’s decision in no way diminishes my resolve in the fight against corruption nor will it keep me from informing the public on issues of national importance or exposing high-level corruption,” he said.

“In my view it’s the calm before the storm.”

In a statement later in the day Kramer explained the court decision saying: “Today (1/5/23) the Leadership Tribunal handed down its ruling on the penalty in relation to the finding of guilt of the seven (7) counts of misconduct in office against me.

“The Tribunal categorised the seven counts of misconduct into two main categories in determining whether there is serious culpability (wrongdoing on my part) warranting my dismissal from office or recommending a lesser penalty of a fine or suspension of no more than three months without pay.

“Category 1 included counts 1 and 2 that related to my Facebook publications scandalising the judiciary.

Conflict of interest claim
“Count 1 being the publication insinuating a conflict of interest by the Chief Justice.

“Count 2 related to accusing [former prime minister] Peter O’Neill and his lawyer of soliciting the assistance of the Chief Justice and submitting a fabricated document to mislead the court that the warrant of arrest was defective.

“Category 2 included the remaining 5 counts that related to the decisions of the Madang District Development Authority Board in the application of the District Services Improvement Programme (DSIP) Funds in renting office space for the establishment of a project office to deliver district projects at the ward level, paying electoral staff who were involved in implementing the projects and establishing a ward project staff structure without obtaining approval from the Secretary of Personnel Management and engaging an associate company that was paid K3000 [NZ$1400] a fortnight.

“In short, the Tribunal recommended a penalty of dismissal from office in relation to counts 1 and 2 and a fine of K2000 for each of remaining 5 counts, a total fine of K10,000.

“Based on the Tribunal’s finding on guilt on seven counts handed down on 21 February 2023, today’s ruling for dismissal was expected.

“The decision recommending dismissal from office will be delivered to the Speaker who will then recommend to the Governor General (GG) to adopt the Tribunal’s recommendation to dismiss me from office.

“The decision of the GG will be gazetted and takes effect. At that point I will no longer be a Member of Parliament.”

Kramer Report publisher
Bryan Kramer, well known as a social media strategist and publisher of the anti-corruption Kramer Report, has been a cabinet minister in Prime Minister James Marape’s government since 2019, holding the police, justice and then immigration portfolios.

Leader of the Allegiance Party, Kramer was returned to Parliament at last year’s elections with sizable majority in the Madang Open seat.

Republished with permission.

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