18 Nov 2002

Former Caledonian mayor gets suspended term for misusing public funds

5:19 pm on 18 November 2002

A former mayor of New Caledonia's Mare island, Jules Paala, has been sentenced to a three-month suspended prison term for misusing public funds.

A court in Lifou found him guilty of excessive spending during his six years as mayor when he combined private and political activities with his role as mayor.

This included booking almost 750 flights from Mare on Noumea in three years for himself and his top officials and extending stays in Noumea, with expenses for rental cars and restaurant bills and attending party political billed to the Mare municipality.

Jules Paala said in is defence that he put no money in his own pocket during his entire term.

But the court has ordered him to repay the Mare municipality 25-thousand US dollars in damages.