12 Oct 2009

French Polynesian government minister accused of contract favouritism

10:43 am on 12 October 2009

A French Polynesian government minister, Armelle Merceron, has been summoned to appear before the criminal court this week over alleged favouritism in awarding more than 1 million US dollars worth of audit contracts.

Mrs Merceron is alleged to have approved the deals as part of a health care reorganisation in 2000 when she was the health minister under the then President Gaston Flosse.

The Depeche de Tahiti newspaper says if convicted, the minister could risk a two-year jail sentence and be fined in excess of 40,000 US dollars.

Mrs Merceron, who is the solidarity minister in Oscar Temaru's

government, could also be banned form political office for five years.