EFCC arraigns Rickey Tarfa for justice obstruction - BeVibez Media

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EFCC arraigns Rickey Tarfa for justice obstruction

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Tuesday arraigned a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr. Rickey Tarfa, for allegedly obstructing EFCC’s investigations and attempting to pervert the course of justice. Tarfa was arraigned on two counts before Justice Aishat Opesanwo of a Lagos State High Court in Igbosere. In the charge numbered LD/2417c/16, the EFCC alleged that the senior lawyer willfully obstructed two of its authorised operatives –Moses Awolusi and Sanusi Mohammed – from effecting the arrest of
one Gnanhoue Sorou and Nazaire Modeste, “who were reasonably suspected to have committed economic and financial crimes.”
Tarfa was accused of “keeping the said suspects in your car between 11.00 hours to 16.30 hours on or about the 5th day of February 2016 within the jurisdictional of this honourable court.”


The EFCC said the offence was contrary to Section 38(2) (a) of the EFCC (Establishment) Act, 2004.
In the second count, Tarfa was accused of making an attempt to pervert the course of justice “by communicating with Hon. Justice M.N. Yunusa of the Federal High Court through your mobile telephone No. 08034600000, whilst suit No. FHC/L/CS/715/2015 between Rana Prestige Industries Nigeria and the EFCC; and suit No. FHC/L/CS/715 between Hair Prestige Manufacturing Nigeria and the EFCC were pending before the said judge.”
According to the EFCC, Tarfa was the one who filed the two suits on behalf of his clients, who were “seeking to restrain the commission from performing its statutory duties.” The EFCC claimed that by allegedly communicating with Justice Yunusa in the circumstances, Tarfa had violated Section 97(3) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State No.11, 2011.”
But when the charges were read to him, Tarfa, who stepped into the dock at about 11.20am on Tuesday, pleaded not guilty.
Justice Opesanwo granted Tarfa bail on self recognition with a clause that he must not travel out without the court’s permission. The judge said she was satisfied that Tarfa would not abscond if granted bail.
She, however, expressed concern over the huge number of SANs and other lawyers who besieged her court to defend Tarfa. “I find no need for this magnitude of support. It is to harass and intimidate us on this side,” she said. Consequent upon his plea, the EFCC prosecutor, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo, applied to the court for trial date pursuant to Section 212 of the Administration of Criminal Law of Lagos State. He, however, urged the judge to order the prison remand of Tarfa pending the determination of the charge. He also acknowledged an application for bail filed by Tarfa and said he had responded to it by filing a counter-affidavit.
In response, Chief Niyi Akintola (SAN), who led 12 out of the 35 Senior Advocates of Nigeria and over 65 other lawyers, who enlisted to defend Tarfa in charge, said the bail application was filed and served on the EFCC on February 9 and was ready for hearing.
Akintola told the judge that the offence was a bailable offence, adding that Tarfa had been on the EFCC’s administrative bail and had not defaulted in reporting daily at 8am to the agency’s office as he was mandated.
He said there was nothing in the counter-affidavit filed by the EFCC to justify the claim that Tarfa would abscond if granted bail, pointing out that he came to court on his own on Tuesday morning.
Akintola, who said Tarfa had about four law chambers in the country and had over 60 lawyers in his employment, said the senior lawyer had no reason to run away if granted bail.
But Oyedepo urged the court to discountenance Akintola’s submission, saying reply to a counter-affidavit could not be done orally.
“I am not aware of any reaction or reply to my counter-affidavit,” Oyedepo said, urging the court to dismiss the bail application.
After listening to them, Justice Opesanwo stood the matter down for over one hour for ruling.

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