16 Sep 2009

French Polynesia's Tahoeraa welcomes Flosse immunity decision

12:02 pm on 16 September 2009

French Polynesia's opposition Tahoeraa Huiraatira Party has welcomed a French senate decision not to lift the parliamentary immunity of Gaston Flosse who is also the party's founder and its veteran leader.

The request to lift his immunity had been submitted by judges in Tahiti who are probing allegations that two million US dollars was given to Mr Flosse over ten years as kickbacks for him granting public sector contracts to a French advertising executive, Hubert Haddad.

Mr Haddad, along with others, has been in jail for months as part of the investigation.

The Senate says the judges have yet to exhaust their powers, such as indicting Mr Flosse, before his immunity can be considered to be lifted.

The Tahoeraa says Mr Flosse doesn't know exactly what he is accused of having done and last month did ask to be indicted.

In July, the Senate partially lifted his immunity for him to be questioned but it precluded any moves for him to join the others in detention.

Mr Flosse then said he was ready to go to prison if those who had been jailed were to be set free.