Tahiti prosecutor seeks huge fine for Temaru

3:10 pm on 23 June 2019

The prosecutor in French Polynesia has asked the criminal court to fine the pro-independence leader and mayor of Faaa Oscar Temaru $US50,000 over the funding of a local radio station by his municipality.

He said although Mr Temaru is a morally and intellectually honest person and not a corrupt one, the funding arrangement for Radio Tefana amounted to undue influence.

The prosecutor has also called for fines to be given to the current and former chairs of the board of the association which runs Radio Tefana, Heinui Le Caill and Vito Maamaatuaiahutapu.

He said the model of local councils funding radio stations has to end and called for Radio Tefana to be fined $US100,000.

He told the court the trial was not a political one but a judicial one after repeated earlier claims by the defence that the case against Mr Temaru was devised to remove him from political life.

In his submission, the prosecutor didn't call for the ineligibility of Mr Temaru, who has been the mayor of Faaa since 1983.

The defence had argued that Radio Tefana wasn't a propaganda tool for Mr Temaru's Tavini Huiraatira party but began broadcasting as the only voice against France's nuclear weapons tests and for decolonisation.

Witnesses said the prosecution failed to provide any evidence of Radio Tefana's alleged partiality.

The lawyer acting for the Faaa municipality said the matter should never have gone to court.

The verdict is expected to be delivered on 10 September.

Mr Le Caill says however he is likely to appeal.

This week's case was the first criminal case lodged against Mr Temaru, who last year campaigned for probity in politics as he was running against politicians, including the current president Edouard Fritch, who had corruption convictions.

Last year, he lost his seat in the assembly after his campaign accounts had been rejected by Paris.