Tahiti's Tong Sang gets suspended prison sentence

9:21 am on 5 November 2019
Gaston Tong Sang

Gaston Tong Sang Photo: Alchetron

France's highest court has thrown out an appeal by three French Polynesian politicians given suspended jail sentences last year.

Gaston Tong Sang, Clarenntz Vernaudon and Fernand Roomataaroa were found guilty of abusing public funds to pay for phantom jobs by signing contracts to seal a 2008 coalition deal with the Ai'a Api Party.

Tong Sang, who is now the president of the assembly and the long-term mayor of Bora Bora, was the president at the time and struggling to stay in power.

Sang was given a one-year suspended prison sentence and a fine of $US20,000, while the other two received lesser sentences.

Originally, the prosecution wanted Tong Sang to be declared ineligible to hold office for a year, but the criminal court rejected that and he has remained an assembly member of the ruling coalition and the mayor of Bora Bora.

All four men, who have been French Polynesia's presidents in the past decade, have been convicted for abusing public funds.