29 Apr 2011

Unionists explain government pay in Tahiti phantom job trial

1:52 pm on 29 April 2011

Former leading unionists in French Polynesia have been in the criminal court as the judge is continuing to hear 86 people involved in the alleged abuse of public funds for phantom jobs.

The case centres on the former presidency run by Gaston Flosse who is alleged to have run an illicit network from the mid 1990s to advance his Tahoeraa Huiraatira Party's cause.

Two unionists, Jean-Marie Yan Tu and Cyril Legayic, and Bruno Sandras, who is now one of French Polynesia's members of the French Assembly, have been questioned over having signed contracts to work for the former government.

The court has been told that they defended their action as a way of building bridges at a time of tension between the government and the unions.

They say while being on a government contract it didn't mean doing the government's bidding.

Earlier, Mr Flosse has told the court that there was nothing untoward in any of the contracts issued for his officials because they were all approved by successive French high commissioners.