French Polynesia mayor Tetuanui probed

5:58 pm on 3 October 2016

Tahiti's daily newspaper says a controversial mayor from Raiatea Cyril Tetuanui has been detained for questioning over cash payments he allegedly received from a businessman who is now jailed for drugs offences.

Cyril Tetuanui, mayor of Tumaraa in French Polynesia

Cyril Tetuanui, mayor of Tumaraa in French Polynesia Photo: AFP

La Depeche de Tahiti said his wife Lana Tetuanui volunteered to be questioned but she had parliamentary immunity as one of the territory's members of the French Senate.

It reported that Mr Tetuanui was suspected of having granted him favours in return for the money.

Four years ago, Cyril Tetuanui was given a suspended jail sentence and declared ineligible for public office for a year by France's highest court.

However, he didn't quit office because the court document was never sent through and the sentence lapsed.

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

Shortly before his wife became a senator last year, a complaint was lodged with the police claiming he was on the pay roll as her assistant in her office at the assembly for 30 hours a week.

She said she had adhered to assembly rules and her husband had always accompanied her on her travels around the territory.

Lara Tetuanui, newly elected Senator

Lara Tetuanui, newly elected Senator Photo: AFP

Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs