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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, October 4) - A Papua New Guinea Supreme Court judge, Justice Mark Sevua, has been referred to the Public Prosecutor for alleged misconduct in office.

This is the first time the Ombudsman Commission has referred a judge on a prima facie case for alleged misconduct in office.

A statement on the referral said it was following investigations into two letters dated November 12, 2002, and November 15, 2002, in relation to the graduation of Justice Sevua’s wife from the Pacific Adventist University.

The first letter follows PAU Dean of the School of Education Dr. Carol Tasker and two other staff members telling Mrs. Sevua that she might not graduate because she had an outstanding one-week practicum.

"This issue prompted Justice Sevua to write to Tasker. This letter is the subject of the alleged misconduct in office committed by Sevua," Chief Ombudsman Ila Geno said. "It is alleged that on two separate occasions, Sevua used the official letterhead of the Supreme Court in relation to a private matter involving his wife.

"Sevua’s first letter of 12 November 2002 to Tasker is alleged to be intimidating and threatening. It is alleged that he threatened to take legal action against Tasker and the PAU if his wife was not allowed to graduate at the end of the 2002 academic year. Furthermore, Sevua threatened to take steps to have Tasker deported from Papua New Guinea.

Sevua appears to have circulated his letter to Tasker to persons both within and outside of Papua New Guinea.

October 5, 2004

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