6 Jul 2009

Family demonstrates for the release of the secretary of French Polynesia's Gaston Flosse

6:10 am on 6 July 2009

The family of the arrested personal secretary of the veteran French

Polynesian politician, Gaston Flosse, has demonstrated outside the

Papeete court asking for her immediate release from prison.

Melba Ortas was detained last week as part of a probe into an

alleged fraud at the state-owned OPT telecommunications company.

After questioning, she was transferred to the Nuutania jail where several high profile personalities are also being held.

Mrs Ortas is suspected of a range of corrupt activities, but her arrest has stunned Mr Flosse's Tahoeraa Huiraatira party whose office was also briefly raided by nearly 30 investigators last week.

The party has declined comment apart from Mr Flosse saying at the

assembly that if Paris thinks that he has to be killed, they will kill


This comes as a local newspaper reports that in April, he was put under investigation for alleged irregularities at the intelligence unit he set up in 1997 when he was president.

This adds to a range of other, separate investigations into the way the Flosse administrations were run up to 2004.