One of the conservative minority goverment’s most outspoken ministers, Per Sandberg, was missing from this year’s opening of Parliament on Tuesday, after he was forced to resign following a highly controversial summer holiday in Iran. He’s not financially hurting, however, since he’s been put in quarantine that triggers six months worth of his full pay as fisheries minister.
Sandberg often opposed severance pay packages while he was a politician but is now receiving one himself. A state board that determines whether government officials must go through a quarantine period before accepting new employment ruled that he must abide by six months quarantine starting from his resignation date on August 13.
Government ministers normally qualify for three months of severance pay but Sandberg will receive it throughout his quarantine period. He had sought the determination after declaring that he intends to work as a consultant, promoting seafood exports and other ventures. Newspaper Dagbladet reported he won’t be allowed to take part in any ventures involving Norway’s quota systems for fishing for four months.
Sandberg’s use of his government-issued mobile phone while in both Iran and, earlier, in China has also prompted Norway’s police intelligence service PST and national security officials to work on issuance of new regulations regarding mobile phone use abroad. Sandberg defied guidelines for ministers and was criticized for violating national security measures by exposing his phone to surveillance or hacking.
Newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN) reported that officials of several government ministries met on September 14 to discuss mobile phone practices while abroad. PST attended the meeting as well, to offer advice on protecting electronic devices from being compromised.
Prime Minister Erna Solberg has informed Parliament that it’s highly probable Sandberg’s phone was compromised while he was in both China and Iran. PST chief Benedicte Bjørnland has said she hopes politicians have learned a lesson from the Sandberg case.