TAHITI MAYOR GETS SUSPENDED SENTENCE, FINE

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PAPEETE, Tahiti (Tahitipresse, Aug. 31) – Tahiti’s Correctional Court today found French Polynesia Archipelago Development Minister Emile Vernaudon guilty of misusing public services and materials.

He was given a suspended 12-month prison sentence and a fine of three million French Pacific francs (US$31,480).

Vernaudon, who is also mayor of Tahiti’s north coast Commune of Mahina, was convicted of using the commune’s construction material and employees to do work on four homes from 1992-1999.

The houses involved were his own, that of his concubine, that of his first assistant mayor and the home of Vernaudon’s brother.

The assistant mayor, Joël Buillard, was given an eight-month suspended sentence and fined one million French Pacific francs (US$10,493).

The mayor’s brother, Freddy Vernaudon, was given a three-month suspended sentence and fined one million French Pacific francs.

Heifara Izal, Emile Vernaudon’s concubine and a secretary at the Mahina Town Hall at the time of the misuse, was fined 400,000 French Pacific francs (US$4,197).

Emile Vernaudon’s lawyer told the court that the construction materials and services provided to various people in the commune was a widespread practice.

Vernaudon, who is also in charge of new technologies and the postal system in President Oscar Temaru’s government, did not immediately indicate whether he planned to appeal Tuesday’s decision.

September 2, 2004

Tahitipresse: www.tahitipresse.pf

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