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Former Tahiti president charged with misusing public funds

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Feb. 5, 2009) – The prosecution in French Polynesia’s criminal court has asked for a suspended one-year jail sentence for veteran politician, Gaston Flosse, for misusing public funds following the 2004 general election night.

The court in Papeete has also heard a request that Mr Flosse be declared ineligible for office for a year and be fined 20,000 US dollars.

Mr Flosse, who was the territory’s president, organised a massive reception for his Tahoeraa Huiraatira Party at the presidential palace on election night, assuming he would increase his majority and win a another five-year term.

After his shock defeat, the entertainment bill was left for the new government to pay but the new administration of Oscar Temaru refused to do so.

Once back in power, Mr Flosse settled the account and Mr Temaru lodged a complaint.

A verdict in the case is expected in two weeks.

The case was to be heard in November but Mr Flosse, who was re-elected as member of the French senate in September, was in Paris at the time and his lawyer won a deferral until today.

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