French Polynesia court hears appeal from former Mahina mayor

12:01 pm on 12 January 2019
Emile Vernaudon

Emile Vernaudon Photo: RNZ/ Walter Zweifel

The appeal court in French Polynesia has heard the case of the former mayor of Mahina, Emile Vernaudon, who was last year convicted for the abuse of public funds with the running of a local radio station.

He had been given a one-year prison sentence, fined almost $US100,000 and banned from public office for five years.

Vernaudon was one of three men sentenced in the affair which dates back to the beginning of the last decade when they allegedly used the funds meant to be for the radio for personal use.

The sum reportedly misspent amounted to $US270,000 and triggered the demise of the station, which backed the policies of his Aia Api party.

In the appeal court, the defence argued that running the radio station was a legitimate measure to counter the influence of the ruling Tahoeraa Huiraatira.

The prosecution wants the sentence of the criminal court to be upheld.

It has also asked for jail sentences to be confiirmed for the co-accused Joinville Pomare and Gilles Tefaatau.

A verdict is expected on February 21st.

Vernaudon's political career included serving two terms as member of the French National Assembly.

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