4 May 2011

Former French Polynesia assembly president probed in phantom job trial

6:05 pm on 4 May 2011

French Polynesia's criminal court hearing the case of alleged abuse of public funds for phantom jobs has been looking into arrangements to the benefit of a former assembly president.

The trial 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.

Walter Zweifel reports.

"The court has been told that about 15 security staff of the presidency were put at the disposal of the former assembly president, Justin Arapari, who used them for jobs around his private properties and in his wife's business. Some of them never set foot in the assembly precinct but instead were involved in building a bungalow for Mr Arapari and doing other jobs. They also testified that they were coached what to say about their roles and threatened with dismissal if they failed to follow the instructions. Mr Arapari admitted that he received outside help but said they all came in their leisure time. in his defence, Mr Flosse has maintained there was nothing untoward in any of the contracts issued for his officials because they were all approved by successive French high commissioners."