10 Dec 2009

French Polynesia's Tahoeraa meets as its leader is in jail

2:21 pm on 10 December 2009

French Polynesia's ruling Tahoeraa Huiraatira party has held its great council meeting in the absence of its leader, Gaston Flosse, who is in jail as part of a corruption investigation.

The gathering of about 400 party members came on the same day Mr Flosse and 23 of his associates were ordered to repay 2.8 million US dollars in public funds misspent over several years.

In addressing Mr Flosse's jailing, his son-in-law and vice-president of the new government, Edouard Fritch, implored the judiciary to do a proper job.

He says this is to avoid that there is going to be trouble, given the growing discontent over the way their leader has been treated.

Mr Fritch says there is no question of demonstrating against the French justice system but to express the disbelief over what has happened in recent times.

Mr Flosse was returned to Tahiti's prison last week as interrogations with suspects in the so-called OPT affair continue.