3 Mar 2010

Tahiti court gives former GIP boss Puputauki one-year jail term

1:07 pm on 3 March 2010

The former head of the now disbanded French Polynesian GIP intervention force, Rere Puputauki, has been given a one-year jail sentence for the way he ignored labour laws.

The criminal court in Papeete has given the maximum sentence for him using 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.

Puputauki was also fined 2,000 US dollars for ordering the men's secondment without complying with employment laws.

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.

Puputauki ran his business with the wife of one of top French intelligence officers employed by Mr Flosse.

According to RFO radio, Puputauki has decided to appeal his conviction.