9 Nov 2015

Verdict due in New Caledonia OPT trial

7:31 am on 9 November 2015

New Caledonia's criminal court is today due to give its verdict in a case against a former president, Harold Martin, over alleged irregularities in awarding a large contract.

New Caledonia politician Harold Martin

New Caledonia politician Harold Martin Photo: RNZI

The prosecution wants him to be jailed for three years over the way he gave a 29-million US dollar contract to an associate.

Walter Zweifel reports.

Harold Martin was the board chairman of the publicly owned OPT telecommunications company when he awarded the contract to an associate, Jean-Marc Bruel.

The court has been told due process was not followed.

The prosecutor says Mr Martin is guilty of betraying his public mandate and should be jailed, fined and deprived of his civic rights.

Mr Martin's defence lawyer has requested his client's acquittal, saying if it doesn't happen now, it will on appeal or once the matter is taken to France's highest court.

Telecommunications company OPT, New Caledonia

Telecommunications company OPT, New Caledonia Photo: RNZI / Johnny Blades

Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs