18 Apr 2019

Top New Caledonia politician is charged

8:24 am on 18 April 2019
Philippe Gomes

Philippe Gomes Photo: AFP

A top New Caledonian politician, Philippe Gomes, has been charged with exerting undue influence while serving as both an assembly member and the chair of an energy company.

The indictment was made two weeks ago but has only now been made public.

Mr Gomes is the leader of the largest anti-independence party and one of two representatives of New Caledonia in the French National Assembly.

Last year, his role as board chair of New Caledonia Energy was challenged by an anti-corruption group, prompting him to raise the matter with France's constitutional court in Paris.

The court ruled that the two roles were not compatible and as a result he resigned from the company.

While accepting the ruling, Mr Gomes said he would continue to be involved in running the company.

For New Caledonia Energy, which was formed in 2016, he was engaged to oversee the building of a major electricity plant feeding Noumea's industrial area.