Tahiti's Tong Sang trial deferred

12:54 pm on 19 May 2016

French Polynesia's criminal court has deferred the trial of a former president, Gaston Tong Sang, who was accused of abusing public funds to pay for phantom jobs eight years ago.

Mr Tong Sang and two former ministers, Clarenntz Vernaudon and Fernand Roomataaroa, are accused of misusing the funds by signing contracts to seal a coalition deal with the Ai'a Api Party.

The deal was allegedly struck to firm up the government coalition.

One of the defendants' lawyer asked for the trial to be put off to a later date because he was unable to be in court for personal reasons.

Reports say Mr Roomataaroa was prevented from attending because the latest Air Tahiti strike stopped flights from his home in the Austral island to Papeete.

The trial is now due to go ahead on October 25th.

Mr Tong Sang, who is the mayor of Bora Bora, risks losing office if he is convicted.

Papeete, capital of French Polynesia

Papeete, capital of French Polynesia Photo: RNZI

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