Anti-corruption former MP Kramer appeals to PNG Supreme Court

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Dismissed Madang Open MP Bryan Kramer
Dismissed Madang Open MP Bryan Kramer . . . fighting on with Supreme Court appeal. Image: PNGi Investigates screenshot APR

PNG Post-Courier

Former MP for Madang Open and anti-corruption campaigner Bryan Kramer has filed a Supreme Court appeal against a National Court ruling dismissing his application for leave to review a Leadership Tribunal’s decision to dismiss him from office.

His appeal to the Supreme Court follows the refusal of a leave to review application in the National Court presided by Justice John Carey on August 18.

Kramer said in a statement that he had filed an application on the 23 May 2023 in the National Court to review the decision of the Leadership Tribunal.

He later withdrew this and refiled on June 30.

The refiled application raised nine primary grounds, including breach of natural justice, procedural unfairness, apprehension of bias in being denied a fair hearing, unreasonableness and being oppressive and harsh and not “reasonably justifiable in a democratic society”.

After waiting almost three months for a judge to hear his leave application, the matter was listed before Justice John Carey on August 18. However, straight after hearing detailed submission from counsels, Justice Carey delivered an oral judgement refusing Kramer’s application.

Justice Carey ruled that Kramer had not satisfied all the requirements, in particular an arguable case

Further nine grounds
Kramer is now appealing the judge’s ruling on a further nine grounds that include an allegation that the judge had failed to properly deliver a reasoned judicial decision.

He will submit that the judge had erred in directing Kramer’s counsel to narrow his submissions to the ground of apprehension of bias to the exclusion of the issues raised in the eight other grounds.

Further, the judge had failed to consider specific matters raised in each of nine grounds.

The judge had delivered two judgments, the first oral and the second published without indicating to parties, and that was altered and expounded on the reasons in the oral judgement.

He was dismissed in May this year by a a Leadership Tribunal comprising Justice Lawrence Kangwia and senior Magistrates Josephine Nidue and Edward Komia.

The Tribunal found him guilty on seven of thirteen allegations of misconduct in office

Five of the seven misconduct charges were in relation to decisions concerning the Madang District Development Authority (DDA) that he had failed to comply with legislative administrative requirements, and the misapplication of district funds to which they could not be lawfully applied.

Facebook publications
The remaining two misconduct charges were in relation to his Facebook publications that were found to have “scandalised the judiciary”.

The background of the two charges of him scandalising the judiciary were that in October 2019 he had published a three-part series of articles on Facebook concerning an arrest warrant against former Prime Minister Peter O’Neill.

The first charge was over part of his publication insinuating a conflict of interest by Chief Justice Sir Gibbs Salika in publishing the words “a relevant matter to note is that the Chief Justice was only recently appointed by O’Neill late last year”.

The second charge was over publishing the words “What was not anticipated was that O’Neill and his lawyers would solicit the assistance from the Chief Justice and desperate enough to submit fabricated documents to mislead the court that the warrant was defective as a means to obtain a stay order”.

The Tribunal had recommended by majority that Kramer pay a fine of K2000 (about NZ$922) for each for the five charges in relation to the Madang District Development Authority as they were decisions made by the DDA Board and not Kramer alone.

However, it recommended unanimously for his dismissal from office in relation to his Facebook publications in scandalising the judiciary.

Pacific Media Watch reports that in a profile by The Guardian in 2019, Bryan Kramer — BK as he is known — was described as a “rising star in PNG politics” and as an anti-corruption campaigner who was instrumental in bringing to light the UBS scandal that helped to bring down former Prime Minister Peter O’Neill’s leadership.

Republished from the PNG Post-Courier with permission.

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