11 Aug 2008

Flosse testifies in 2004 French Polynesian burglary case

1:55 pm on 11 August 2008

French Polynesia's former president Gaston Flosse has been in the Papeete court of appeal as a witness in an ongoing probe of what the prosecution has labelled a surreal case.

It relates to a former intelligence official and a former police commander acting on behalf of the French Polynesian presidency to clear up a theft of sensitive information.

In early 2004, files and money was reportedly taken from the office of the then president, Gaston Flosse, as the territorial election campaign was entering its final phase.

The intelligence officials employed by Mr Flosse contacted a top police official and decided to detain two people suspected of the theft for several days and to fingerprint them.

However, Mr Flosse never lodged a formal complaint with police over the theft.

And now in court, he has restated that he didn't give any instructions to deal with the matter.

The two men who had been held by his agents complained that they were seized by people assuming police powers illegally.

The prosecution has demanded that a lower court ruling be upheld which has given the former police commander a suspended eight-month sentence for acting without a formal complaint being lodged with the police administration.