24 Mar 2004

New Caledonian mayor and lawyer decline comment about appeal bid

5:27 am on 24 March 2004

A New Caledonian mayor and his lawyer are refusing to comment on their appeal against a suspended prison sentence for abuse of power.

Bernard Marant, the mayor of the Noumea suburb of Dumbea, was given a suspended six month jail sentence for awarding a public parks maintenance contract to a company in which his son was a key shareholder.

Mr Marant referred all comment on his appeal to his lawyer, Bruno Fissilier, but he has also declined to discuss the matter.

The mayor's son, Stephane Marant, was awarded the contract in 1998 and it accounted for up to 75 percent of his business.

A Noumea court sentenced him to a four month suspended prison term for his role in the scheme.