7 May 2012

Former New Caledonian president given suspended jail term

8:14 pm on 7 May 2012

New Caledonia's criminal court has given a former president, Philippe Gomes, a suspended five-month prison sentence for corruption.

The court also fined him 22,000 US dollars for the way he arranged a 1.3 million US dollar contract for his own company.

The case dates back to 2005 and 2006 when Gomes was the president of the southern province and the head of an airconditioning company which won the contract to supply the Goro Nickel company.

Gomes was also on the Goro Nickel board.

The mining project was approved by the provincial administration, which he led and which is a minority stakeholder.

His defence lawyer says an appeal is probable because it is a question of honour.