Three French Polynesia politicians get suspended jail sentences

3:12 pm on 9 March 2018

The appeal court in French Polynesia has given suspended jail sentences to three politicians, including a former president, for abusing public funds.

Gaston Tong Sang

Gaston Tong Sang Photo: Alchetron

Gaston Tong Sang, Clarenntz Vernaudon and Fernand Roomataaroa were found guilty of abusing public funds to pay for phantom jobs by signing contracts to seal a 2008 coalition deal with the Ai'a Api Party.

Tong Sang, who is the long-term mayor of Bora Bora, was the president at the time and struggling to stay in power.

Radio1 reports he has been given a one-year suspended prison sentence and a fine of $US20,000, while the other two received lesser sentences.

Originally, the prosecution wanted Tong Sang to be declared ineligible to hold office for a year, but the criminal court last year rejected that and he has remained an assembly member of the ruling coalition and the mayor of Bora Bora.

He will be a candidate in next month's territorial election for the ruling Tapura Huiraatira party whose leader Edouard Fritch also has corruption convictions.

Both politicians used to be senior members of the Tahoeraa Huiraatira party of Gaston Flosse who is fighting his ineligibility in France's highest court in the hope to be able to join them in the election.

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