Convicted Tahiti mayor loses only one mandate

5:21 am on 20 May 2019
The French High Commission in Papeete, French Polynesia

The French High Commission in Papeete, French Polynesia Photo: RNZI/Walter Zweifel

There is continued conjecture in French Polynesia over a convicted mayor who wants to stay in office.

Earlier this month, 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.

The French High Commission says while the verdict can still be challenged in the appeal court and afterwards in Paris, the ban doesn't apply to Taae's seat in the assembly where he represents the ruling Tapura Huiraatira party.

The High Commission, however, says his role as mayor is being suspended because the ineligibility sentence applies to him as a member of the council administration.

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.

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