Temaru bid to reverse savings seizure fails

5:02 pm on 8 July 2020

French Polynesia's pro-independence leader Oscar Temaru has failed in his attempt to reverse a judge's order to seize of $US100,000 from his bank account.

His savings were taken last month during an investigation into the alleged abuse of public funds by the Faaa municipal council chaired by Mr Temaru.

Oscar Temaru, mayor of Faaa since 1983

Oscar Temaru, mayor of Faaa since 1983 Photo: supplied FB

Mr Temaru's lawyers asked the judicial authorities in Papeete to annul the order but today it was decided that the order was justified.

The lawyers unsuccessfully pointed out that the money was taken even though Mr Temaru was neither charged nor convicted.

One of them said the action was unjustified, vexatious, premature and excessive.

The prosecutor Herve Leroy had arranged for the money to taken, purportedly to prevent its disbursement by Mr Temaru.

Since then, Mr Temaru has taken Mr Leroy to court for comments that violated the assumption of innocence.

He said the prosecutor had asserted that he was convicted of a crime while another trial process had not been concluded.

After two deferrals within nine days, the court found it could not deal with that case with full impartiality and ordered it to be moved to Noumea.

Mr Leroy's lawyer wanted the affair to be transferred to Paris.

No date has been set for a hearing.

Mr Temaru reacted to the transfer decision by saying several Kanak tribes would welcome him.

New Caledonia's borders are closed because of the Covid-19 pandemic except for returning residents and some French officials.

There are currently no flights between Papeete and Noumea.

There are suggestions the proceedings could be done via video.

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