15 Jun 2021

Suspended jail term for former New Caledonia president Martin

2:47 pm on 15 June 2021

A former president of New Caledonia Harold Martin has been given a suspended one-month jail sentence over a conflict of interest in a land sale.

The Court of Appeal in Noumea reached the verdict after France's highest court had ordered the same court to reconsider its earlier not-guilty verdict.

In 2013, judges had first put Mr Martin under formal investigation over the 2008 rezoning of land, which he and his siblings had sold in Paita a year earlier.

The rezoning to clear the land for a commercial development was approved by Mr Martin in his capacity as mayor of Paita.

Earlier, he said it was his right to sell the land, which had been in the family since 1860.

Three months ago, he was given a six-month prison sentence over the improper allocation of a telecommunications contract.

Two years ago, Harold Martin was convicted for vote buying, shortly before he resigned as mayor of Paita.

He had served three times as president of the Congress and twice as president of the government.