Another former Tahiti president snared in phantom job affair

Updated at 7:13 pm on 13 November 2012

A French Polynesian mayor has been charged with abuse of public funds in a case of phantom jobs within the administration of a former president Gaston Tong Sang.

The Nouvelles de Tahiti says many of the contracts were issued in 2008 to get the support of another party.

This case is the second of its kind in Tahiti as another former president Gaston Flosse was in court until last week.

Walter Zweifel reports.

"The newspaper says it has only become known now that a year ago Gaston Tong Sang was charged with abusing public funds by signing contracts to seal a coalition deal with the Ai'a Api Party. The arrangement was allegedly reached at the behest of the Aia Api leader Emile Vernaudon, who six months ago was released from prison after serving just over 500 days of a five-year sentence for misspending 1.4 million US dollars of public funds. The affair has come to light just days after the appeal court in Papeete held the phantom job trial of 42 defendants, including Gaston Flosse who appealed his four-year jail sentence for corruption."

Next story in Pacific: Lot to determine American Samoa House seat