21 Jan 2011

Appeals planned in French Polynesia

2:31 pm on 21 January 2011

At least five of the people in French Polynesia have decided to appeal their conviction over the misspending of 1.4 million US dollars of funds at the state-owned OPT telecommunications company.

The criminal court in Tahiti had sentenced a total of 12 people to sentences of up to five years in jail.

A former government minister, Emile Vernaudon, was immediately jailed for five years, but by appealing he can still run for office in this month's municipal election.

Also appealing are two former ministers, Georges Puchon and Hiro Tefaarere, who is a member of the assembly and faced the loss of his office .

A former assembly member, Loic Brigato, is also appealing, saying he refuses to be collateral damage in the OPT affair as he has never been paid under Vernaudon's authority.

The Nouvelles de Tahiti says another person to be convicted, Yves Conroy, has also decided to appeal.