10 Nov 2003

President of French Polynesia accused of exceeding his powers by handing out international aid

1:11 pm on 10 November 2003

The administrative court in Papeete has asked the French Council of State to give its opinion on whether the president of the French Polynesian government exceeded his powers by giving humanitarian aid to Fiji and Solomon Islands.

Gaston Flosse handed out hundreds of thousands of dollars to neighbouring countries ..an action a complainant says is only within the powers of the French state.

Rene Hoffer has taken Mr Flosse to court after accusing him of using the vehicle of humanitarian aid to win international stature while violating the 1996 autonomy statute.

"He cannot take the money from the tax payers in Tahiti, take it to the Fiji population and himself have an aura on the international level. He has not got that power, that is what I say."

If the Council of state declines to give its view within three months, the case will be ruled on by judges in French Polynesia.