French Poly govt decides against claiming damages in Kautai case

4:08 pm on 14 December 2018

The French Polynesian government has decided against claiming damages and interest for the abuse of public funds by one its assembly members.

Benoît Kautai.

Benoît Kautai. Photo: Tahoeraa Huiraatira

In September, Benoit Kautai was given a 10-month suspended prison sentence for abusing public funds and fraud.

Benoit Kautai, who is also the mayor of Nuku Hiva in the Marquesas Islands, was also fined $US50,000 but was allowed to remain in office.

The case was back in court as a civil case but according to Radio 1, the government lawyer declined to pursue him.

He was convicted for overcharging the territorial government for a roading project six years ago.

At the time, he was with the pro-independence Union For Democracy, but in May he was elected as an assembly member of the ruling Tapura Huiraatira Party.

He is the first assembly member in this term to be convicted for corruption.

Almost a third of the ruling party's elected members have corruption convictions, including its leader Edouard Fritch and the assembly president Gaston Tong Sang who was given a suspended prison sentence this year.

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