Tahiti's Temaru to stand trial in June

12:10 pm on 20 December 2018

French Polynesia's pro-independence leader Oscar Temaru is to stand trial in the criminal court in June for allegedly misusing public funds.

French Polynesia leader Oscar Temaru.

French Polynesia leader Oscar Temaru. Photo: RNZI

Radio 1 reports that Mr Temaru has told party leaders that he has been summoned to appear on June 18.

Mr Temaru, who is the mayor of Faaa, and two other defendants, Heinui Lecaill and Vito Maamaatuaiahutapu, are alleged to have misspent money of the association running a local radio station Radio Tefana.

The accusations stem from a public accounts audit of 2009 questioning allocations given to Radio Tefana, which is a station asserting sovereignty rights and denouncing nuclear weapons tests.

Last month, the three were detained for 12 hours as part of the investigation, which prompted an outcry from the pro-independence Tavini Huiraatira Party.

It accused France of scheming to politically assassinate Mr Temaru for referring French presidents to the International Criminal Court for alleged crimes against humanity over France's nuclear weapons tests in the Pacific.

However, both the French High Commissioner and the public prosecutor firmly rejected the Tavini claim that there was a plot to sideline Mr Temaru.

In October, a French court declared him ineligible for a year for campaign spending irregularities, thereby forcing him out of the territorial assembly after more than three decades.

The Tavini campaigned in the May territorial election on the issue of probity as the ruling Tapura Huiraatira fielded many candidates with corruption convictions, including the president Edouard Fritch and the assembly president Gaston Tong Sang.

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