31 Jan 2019

Former New Caledonia president resigns mayoralty

1:34 pm on 31 January 2019

A former New Caledonian president Harold Martin has announced his resignation as mayor of Paita but says he will serve out his term in the Congress.

Harold Martin

Harold Martin Photo: AFP

Mr Martin told a local radio station this morning that he would advise the French High Commission of his move to end his tenure of 23 years.

Mr Martin, who was president of the collegial government twice, said the decision is linked to a court case which is to be ruled on in the highest court of appeal in Paris.

He was first convicted in Noumea in 2015 for favouritism over the allocation of a $US29 million contract to an associate when he was also the chairman of the publicly owned OPT telecommunications company.

Mr Martin also lost on appeal in New Caledonia and he now says should the Paris appeal court also rule against him, the budget for Paita could be annulled.

He said he doesn't want the court case to affect the community and is therefore resigning.

He said his deputy Willy Gatuhau will now run Paita, becoming the first Wallisian to assume a mayoralty in New Caledonia

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