5 Dec 2005

Appeal decision in French Polynesian corruption case to be announced next month

3:47 pm on 5 December 2005

The appeal court in French Polynesia says it will announce its decision in late January in the corruption case brought against the telecommunications minister, Emile Vernaudon.

The prosecution wants the sentence for Mr Vernaudon increased to have him declared ineligible to be the mayor of Mahina for two years.

Last year, a lower court convicted him to a suspended one-year jail sentence and loss of the mayor's position for a year for diverting tens of thousands of dollars of public funds over seven years to his associates and girlfriend.

The Tahitipresse news agency says the defence pointed at his service to the community as five-term mayor, president of the territorial assembly and term as a territorial representative in the French assembly.

Mr Vernaudon is the leader of the Aia Api party which is a key partner in Oscar Temaru's coalition government.