27 Jan 2010

French Polynesia former GIP boss in court

1:39 pm on 27 January 2010

The former head of the now disbanded French Polynesian GIP intervention force, Rere Puputauki, is in court facing charges over the running of the now defunct group.

He was found to have used dozens of GIP members between 2003 and 2005 to transfer tuna boats from China and South Korea to Tahiti for use in his private business.

The accounts office has objected to the secondment of so many people in the pay of the executive to be used for the ventures without complying with employment laws.

Local radio says if found guilty, Mr Puputauki could be jailed for up to three years.

The GIP was formed as a militia-like unit by a former president, Gaston Flosse, and provided among other things shipping services but also accommodated an espionage unit, whose activities, although illegal, were tacitly tolerated by the French authorities.