17 Jul 2009

Prosecution wants tougher sentence in Tahiti election night party case

5:46 pm on 17 July 2009

The prosecution in French Polynesia has asked to toughen the sentence given by a lower court to the veteran politician, Gaston Flosse, for misusing public funds following the 2004 general election night.

In the appeal court in Tahiti, the prosecution has again requested a suspended one-year jail sentence and a fine of more than 20,000 US dollars.

But it says his proposed ineligibility of one-year should be lengthened.

Mr Flosse, who was the territory's president, organised a massive reception for his Tahoeraa Huiraatira Party at the presidential palace on election night, assuming he would increase his majority and win another five-year term.

After his shock defeat, the entertainment bill was left for the new government to pay but the new administration of Oscar Temaru refused to do so.

Once back in power, Mr Flosse settled the account and Mr Temaru lodged a complaint, saying the election night party was not to be funded by the taxpayer.

A verdict by the court of appeal is due in September.