17 Dec 2019

Former New Caledonia president gets jail sentence

2:24 pm on 17 December 2019

A former president of New Caledonia, Harold Martin, has been given a six-month prison sentence over the improper allocation of a telecommunications contract.

Harold Martin

Harold Martin Photo: AFP

The appeal court in Noumea has also fined him $US70,000 and banned him from any public office for two years.

The case stems from a 2010 deal, when Harold Martin was the board chairman of the publicly owned OPT telecommunications company.

Martin, who was also a Congress member and the mayor of Paita at the time, had defied the board to seal a $US29 million contract with an associate, Jean-Marc Bruel.

Bruel has also been given a six-month jail sentence.

Martin resigned as mayor of Paita earlier this year and served out his term in the Congress.

When the case first went to court, the prosecutor labelled the wrongdoing extremely serious, adding that it was similar to a banana republic where deals are struck behind the public's back.