17 Mar 2010

French Polynesia 2003 atoll sale cannot be challenged by opposition

3:59 pm on 17 March 2010

The judicial authorities in French Polynesia have ruled that the opposition's complaint over a 2003 land deal has been inadmissible.

The lawyer acting for a former president, Gaston Flosse, has sought to stifle a probe into the deal by saying the 12 opposition politicians, including Oscar Temaru, were not entitled to lodge a complaint..

The case revolves around allegations of fraud by Mr Flosse, his deputy, Edouard Fritch, and his former lands minister, Gaston Tong Sang, over the sale of Anuanuraro atoll in 2003.

The three have been accused of buying the atoll from the territory's leading pearl producer, Robert Wan, for five times its value.

Mr Flosse rejected the accusation, saying the atoll was bought to prevent its sale to Japanese investors.

The judicial services commission has now found that the opposition complaint was not acceptable.