1 Feb 2006

French Polynesia government admits bad example by keeping on corrupt minister

7:41 pm on 1 February 2006

The French Polynesian government has conceded it is setting a bad example by keeping the telecommunications minister in his job despite his conviction for corruption.

Emile Vernaudon was given a 12-month suspended prison sentence for illicit use of public funds, and ordered to pay a fine of 30,000 US dollars.

The government spokesperson Claude Marere, admits that Vernaudon, of the Aia Api party, is going against election promises made by the coalition the Union for Democracy.

"A part of their election promise was to say that when an elected member of the assembly has been sentenced, he will resign. Today, Mr Vernaudon does not want to resign. Yes of course it's not really the best example in this exact situation."

The appeal court didn't rule that Vernaudon was no longer entitled to hold a public office.

The opposition has warned the presidency to bear in mind the consequences of the judgment.