Convicted Tahiti mayor may keep assembly seat

9:07 pm on 14 May 2019

There is conjecture in French Polynesia that a convicted mayor bound to lose his office may be allowed to remain a member of the assembly.

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Photo: RNZ

Last week, the mayor of Papara, Puta'i Taae, was banned from holding public office for two years with immediate effect after the criminal court gave him a suspended 18-month jail sentence over the abuse of public funds.

Tahiti-infos says his loss of office is being described as provisional which for the overseeing French state may mean that the convicted politician can exercise his assembly job as long as the ruling is not final.

This would mean that he could keep sitting his assembly seat for the ruling Tapura Huiraatira party until all appeal options have been exhausted.

Tahiti-infos says the French High Commission is studying the legal situation of the case.

Puta'i Taae was also fined $US20,000 as was one of his advisers, Charles Villierme, who now also loses his job as vice-president of French Polynesia's Olympic Committee.

The four people convicted, including the mayor's wife, were found to have spent the funds to travel to the US purportedly to set up a sister city relationship with San Diego, yet they failed to produce any records of their endeavours.