Former French Polynesia President Tong Sang Fronts Criminal Court

Gaston Tong Sang accused of misusing funds for phantom jobs 

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Oct. 27, 2016) – The trial has been held of a former French Polynesian president Gaston Tong Sang who was accused of abusing public funds to pay for phantom jobs eight years ago.

Mr Tong Sang and two of his former ministers, Clarenntz Vernaudon and Fernand Roomataaroa, were accused of misusing the funds by signing contracts to seal a coalition deal with the Ai'a Api Party.

The deal was allegedly struck to firm up the government coalition.

It involved giving Mr Roomataaroa the agriculture ministry and moving the incumbent into another job as well as upgrading the contracts of 20 of her staff.

The prosecution has asked the criminal court to give Mr Tong Sang a suspended one-year prison sentence, a $US20,000 fine and declare him ineligible to hold office for a year.

A verdict is expected within weeks.

The trial this week was due five months ago but was deferred when Mr Roomataaroa was prevented from attending because an Air Tahiti strike stopped flights from his home in the Austral island to Papeete.

Mr Tong Sang is an assembly member of the ruling coalition and the mayor of Bora Bora.

Radio New Zealand International
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