Pelepesite Faavae and Utuagiagi Soopepa accused of using a fake NEOC pass appeared in the District Court on drug related and weapon charges during the criminal mention yesterday.

Defence counsel Sauaga told Radio Polynesia his clients have entered pleas of not guilty to the criminal charges of possession of drugs paraphernalia and possession of an unlawful firearm.

Fa’avae and Utuagiagi were caught using a fake NEOC pass by Police when the Country was on level3 lockdown in line with the State of Emergency orders in January; only Government officials, front line workers and the media were allowed on the public road with certified NEOC passes.

The vehicle was impounded and during the search the paraphernalias and weapon were allegedly found.

Sauaga applied for bail for the defendants but District Court Judge Talasa Atoa granted bail for Utuagiagi.

However bail for Pelepesite was denied, and hearing for bail is now set on the 4 April.

The defence lawyer told Radio Polynesia the main hearing for the defendants has been scheduled on the 16 June 2022.