French Polynesia president fined US$50k for abusing public funds

French Polynesia president fined US$50k for abusing public funds. Picture: RNZ

PAPE’ETE, 30 JUNE 2019 (RNZ PACIFIC) – The president of French Polynesia Edouard Fritch has been fined US$50,000 after the criminal court convicted him of abusing public funds.

The court in Tahiti also convicted his predecessor Gaston Flosse for their actions as current and former mayors of the town of Pirae from the late 1980s onward.

They had arranged for the town administration to pay for the water supply to the upmarket Erima neighbourhood, where Flosse lived.

Flosse was also given a suspended two-year jail sentence and banned from holding a public office.

The charges followed a 2011 auditor’s report which found that over the years the two had billed the town hundreds of thousands of dollars.

It’s not known if they will appeal.

The two politicians have since fallen out, and in February Flosse was fined US$20,000 for making defamatory statements about Fritch.

Flosse had already been barred from public office since 2014 because of corruption convictions.

Today’s ruling is Edouard Fritch’s first corruption conviction in this term of office.

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