8 Nov 2012

Huge French Polynesian phantom job court case close to decision

7:31 pm on 8 November 2012

As French Polynesia's appeal court case over the so-called phantom jobs is nearing its end, the defence has called for the acquittal of the 42 accused.

The prosecution however insists that the former president Gaston Flosse be jailed for two years in what is the biggest case of its kind in French legal history.

Walter Zweifel reports.

"40 defendants, including leading politicians, unionists and journalists, want to overturn their convictions for being part of an illicitly funded system to advance the policies of his Tahoeraa Huiraatira Party dating back to the 1990s. The defence says there is no case as their contracts with the French Polynesian presidency were approved by successive French high commissioners. But the prosecution says unionists and journalists were bought off to calm the situation after the 1995 Tahiti riots. While the prosecution has proposed that 18 of the defendants, including the mayor of Papeete, Michel Buillard, be acquitted, it still wants Gaston Flosse jailed and fined more than 100,000 US dollars. It also says it will take years for French Polynesia to clean up its deplorable image."