Corruption fighter Kramer slams allegations
22 August 2022
“The allegations of scandalising the judiciary are nonsensical. It’s a fact the chief justice, who I understand is the complainant in this allegation, is a close friend of former prime minister Peter O’Neill and was appointed on an NEC (Cabinet) submission sponsored by O’Neill"
| PNG Post-Courier
PORT MORESBY - Papua New Guinea’s Justice Minister and Madang MP Bryan Kramer has been referred to the Public Prosecutor by the Ombudsman Commission on 14 counts of alleged misconduct.
He told a media conference that the Ombudsman Commission had delivered a letter informing him of the allegations and the referral.
Kramer, who has been labelled a ‘corruption fighter’, vowed to contest the charges.
He slammed the allegations, which came in June on the eve of the national elections, as “absurd” and “ridiculous” and from an “incompetent” Ombudsman Commission.
While details of the 14 allegations were not disclosed to the media, the Post-Courier understands two allegations relate to articles he posted on his Facebook account.
The first relates to Kramer allegedly scandalising the judiciary by posting articles insinuating a conflict of interest by Chief Justice Sir Gibbs Salika.
The second allegation also relates to Kramer scandalising the judiciary by posting articles accusing Ialibu-Pangia MP Peter O’Neill and his lawyers of filing a fake warrant of arrest to deceive and mislead the court in 2019.
Other allegations relate to misappropriation and misconduct through the Madang District Development Authority.
In a brief response, Kramer said:
“The allegations of scandalising the judiciary are misplaced and nonsensical. It’s not an insinuation.
“It’s a fact the CJ, who I understand is the complainant in this allegation, is a close friend of the former prime minister Peter O’Neill and was appointed on an NEC (Cabinet) submission sponsored by O’Neill.
“On the allegation scandalising the judiciary by posting articles on Facebook accusing O’Neill and his lawyers of filing a fake warrant of arrest to deceive and mislead the court in the matter OS JR No. 720 of 2019; the lawyer and registry staff were in fact criminally charged and after considering the evidence the Committal Court has ruled there is sufficient evidence to commit them to stand trial in the National Court.”
Kramer also discredited the investigations process applied by the Ombudsman Commission:
“On December 4 2021, I wrote to the Chief Ombudsman requesting an extension of time to respond to the allegations, and more importantly, asked that they provide the evidence they relied on to form the opinion that I was guilty of misconduct in office.”
He said his request was denied and he was told the investigations were confidential.
However, Kramer contends that, after the Ombudsman formed their opinion, he should have been afforded the right to view the evidence.
He noted that the timing of the referral were convenient for political opponents as the country was two months away from an election.
If a leadership tribunal is appointed to look into the allegations, Kramer will be suspended from office.
“Everyone in this country knows, in terms of a member of Parliament that is carrying out major reforms in fighting corruption, would be myself.
“So given these allegations are ridiculous and the amount of corruption out there, that for some reason, the Ombudsman Commission saw fit to try pursuing allegations that, mind you, are completely ridiculous, against me on the eve of election,” he said.
“I intend to challenge these allegations, firstly, in the national court, so seeking orders that the court direct the Ombudsman Commission provide me the evidence that I requested for breach of natural justice.
"Once that evidence is provided then I look forward if the Ombudsman continue with these ridiculous allegations to then go before the tribunal and defend these allegations.”
The Chief Ombudman (CO) is reported to claim that the Ombudman Commission does "corroboration of the evidence".
Pray, 'how so', that a nation can be granted and assured in such detail?
Further as to report of the CO claiming "the commission’s role was to make leaders be better leaders", ought it also be asked, 'how so', when the function is rather that of pursuit of inconsistency and assessing actual misdemeanor and compliance of (lawful) process?
Posted by: Lindsay F Bond | 23 August 2022 at 01:41 PM
Why hire a lawyer, when you can buy a judge?
Posted by: Bernard Corden | 22 August 2022 at 04:44 PM
As Donald Trump knows, once you corrupt the judiciary anything is possible. O'Neill obviously knows this too.
Posted by: Philip Fitzpatrick | 22 August 2022 at 09:56 AM