28 Oct 2013

Convicted mayor still in office in French Polynesia amid 'grotesque' problems

6:31 am on 28 October 2013

A French Polynesian assembly member wants the French justice minister, Christiane Taubira, to investigate why a convicted mayor was allowed to defy the courts and stay in office.

Cyril Tetuanui was given a suspended jail sentence last year and declared ineligible for public office for a year after France's highest court upheld the sentence given by the appeal court in Tahiti in 2008.

Although purportedly accepting the court ruling, Cyril Tetuanui remained in office and in August, an assembly member Jacqui Drollet asked the minister when the sentence would be enacted.

At the same time, a similar inquiry was made with the French High Commission in Papeete, which last week said the sentence was void because the court document had not been sent through within a year.

Mr Drollet says this "grotesque" situation shows the problems with the slowness of the judiciary, fuelling the feeling in Tahiti that justice is served at two speeds.

Cyril Tetuanui and his wife, who is a former government minister under Gaston Flosse, had been found guilty of using municipal employees in 2002 for work on their private residence.