NEW CALEDONIA NEWS

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December 13, 1999
PINA Nius Online

NEW CALEDONIA'S VICE PRESIDENT ACCUSED OF MISUSE OF FUNDS

NOUMÉA, New Caledonia (December 13, 1999 - PINA Nius Online)---New Caledonia's Vice President Léopold Jorédié appeared in a Nouméa Court Friday accused of misuse of public funds in the French territory's Northern province, the daily newspaper Les Nouvelles Calédoniennes reports.

The prosecution claims that in 1994 and 1995 Jorédié interfered in the public affairs of Northern province, of which he was the President, and made grants to his son Fabio.

Fabio Jorédié benefited from a 5.5 million CFP grant for the purchase of a truck.

He then obtained an exclusive transport contract with the village of Canala without any tender being made by the municipality.

The mayor of Canal is Léopold Jorédié.

Another accused, who used to head Canal's development office, Edouard Vo, is facing charges of abuse of public funds. He is accused of misusing some 140 million CFP which were used to help set up a fruit juice factory in Canala.

The project was Jorédié's brainchild. It never was activated.

Jorédié, who then lead the FCCI party (Federation des Comités de Coordination Indépendantistes) was elected Vice President of New Caledonia's government last May.

The public prosecution asked for a one year suspended jail sentence, one million French Pacific Francs (CFP, about 11,000 US dollars) and a three-year prohibition against the Kanak leader contesting elections or holding public office.

Hearings are to resume on January 4.

 

EAST TIMOR'S NEW CALEDONIAN SOLDIERS RETURN HOME AS HEROES

NOUMÉA, New Caledonia (December 13, 1999 - PINA Nius Online)---A contingent of 47 New Caledonian soldiers were welcomed home on Saturday upon return from East Timor INTERFET peacekeeping operations, the daily newspaper Les Nouvelles Calédoniennes reports.

The soldiers, all from the RIMAP (Pacific Infantry Regiment of Marine) left on September 19 to take part in the French contingent sent to the troubled province as part of the Australian-coordinated International Force in East Timor (INTERFET).

They were flown back home aboard a military Hercules 130.

The operation was codenamed "Santal" (sandalwood).

One of their main missions during those eighty days was to set up and defend a mobile medical unit in Dili. During the period, the unit treated some 4,500 patients and performed 160 surgical operations. It also helped give birth to ten babies.

Another group of soldiers is expected back in New Caledonia in mid-January.

The INTERFET's presence is to be gradually phased out. It will be replaced by a contingent of 9,000 "Blue Helmets" (UN peacekeepers) next month.

 

AUSTRALIAN PARATROOPERS TRAIN IN NEW CALEDONIA

NOUMÉA, New Caledonia (December 13, 1999 - PINA Nius Online)---Thirty-two paratroopers from the Sydney-based Royal Australian 4th Regiment have completed a one-week training assignment in the New Caledonian army, the daily newspaper Les Nouvelles Calédoniennes reports.

They are training with soldiers from the RIMAP (Pacific Marine Infantry Regiment) and focused on nautical exercises, including simulations of beach landings or dinghy-transported commando operations.

The 32 Australians received certificates of accomplishment on Monday.

They will be accompanied back in Australia by a unit of the French RIMAP, which will undergo a series of training exercises in Australia, over ten days, as part of the exchange.

This bulletin was produced by the Pacific Islands News Association (PINA). Editor: Patrick Antoine Decloitre E-mail: padec@iname.com 

For more information, contact Nina Ratulele, PINA Administrator, at pina@is.com.fj 

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Damodar Centre, 1st Floor 46 Gordon Street Suva, Republic of the Fiji Islands Tel: (679) 303 623 Fax : (679) 303 943 Postal Address: PINA, Private Mail Bag, Suva, Fiji Islands Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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