French Polynesian pro-independence leader says conviction claim baseless

6:14 pm on 13 April 2018
Oscar Temaru

Oscar Temaru Photo: RNZI/Monica Miller

The leader of French Polynesia's pro-independence Tavini Huiraatira party has refuted comments by a Tahoeraa Huiraatira politician that he has a criminal conviction.

The Tahoeraa's Rene Temeharo made the claim on television ahead of the territorial election.

However, Oscar Temaru has issued a statement, labelling Mr Temeharo a liar.

In 40 years of politics, Mr Temaru says, he has never been convicted nor charged with abusing public funds.

The Tahoeraa leader Gaston Flosse is barred from office until 2019 because of multiple corruption convictions entailing ineligibility to hold office.

The ruling Tapura Huiraatira party, which is made up of disaffected or expelled Tahoeraa members, has nine candidates with corruption convictions, including its leader Edouard Fritch.

Mr Temaru says such convictions of elected politicians should entail a 30-year ban from holding any public office.

His party put in a bill in the French National Assembly calling for a lifetime ban from politics for anyone found guilty of abusing public funds.