6 May 2010

French Polynesia judge probes assembly member's 2004 defection

1:10 pm on 6 May 2010

A judge in French Polynesia has simultaneously questioned three politicians as part of a corruption probe with a focus on an alleged bribe which prompted the fall of the government in late 2004.

According to the Nouvelles de Tahiti, Noa Tetuanui admitted that he received money from Gaston Flosse in the lead-up to a vote of no-confidence, which toppled Oscar Temaru's government three months after it was formed.

Last October, however, Mr Flosse's party said it never paid any money to Mr Tetuanui for him to support its motion.

This week's interrogation took place following a complaint laid in 2004 by Mr Temaru, who claimed that corrupt practices were used to sway Mr Tetuanui to switch sides.

At the time of his defection, Mr Tetuanui said he viewed Mr Temaru's government as incompetent and objected to the assembly president betraying Republican values by installing a crucifix in the assembly.

The questioning is also part of a long-running probe into the alleged use of kickbacks by Mr Flosse's party.