22 Apr 2016

New Caledonia removal fraud case deferred

5:31 pm on 22 April 2016

New Caledonia's criminal court has deferred a case of alleged fraud by removal companies which reportedly overcharged the French defence ministry.

The charges relate to the moving expenses claimed by about 600 military staff in 2011 and 2012.

The public broadcaster says while eight companies have been charged, their lawyers have denounced the procedure, saying none of the military personnel involved has been summoned.

The allegations have been that the bills for the removal costs of French police and military personnel were frequently inflated.

In return, it is claimed, the companies offered the military personnel rental cars, tablet computers and railway tickets.

The court has adjourned the case until 26 August to collect information about the military personnel concerned.

A probe into the removals was launched following a complaint by one removal company which went out of business while refusing to strike such deals.