EFCC ARREST: Rickey Tarfa Clears Self

Embattled Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr. Rickey Tarfa (SAN), has asked a Lagos State High Court in Igbosere to quash the charges of willful obstruction and perversion of the course of justice filed against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

Tarfa, in an affidavit filed in support of his preliminary objection to the charges, claimed that the charges were filed against him by the EFCC just to “irritate, annoy and embarrass” him.
In the said 44-paragraph affidavit deposed to by the head of his law chambers, John Odubela, Tarfa contended that the charges disclosed no prima facie case against him and urged the court to dismiss them.

The EFCC had on February 16, 2016 arraigned Tarfa on two counts before Justice Aishat Opesanwo.

The anti-graft agency accused him of willfully obstructing two of its operatives, Moses Awolusi and Sanusi Mohammed, from arresting two Beninoise – Gnanhoue Sorou and Nazaire Modeste – who the EFCC said were “reasonably suspected to have committed economic and financial crimes.”

It accused Tarfa of hiding the suspects in his vehicle for about five hours on February 5, 2016 to prevent them from being arrested, claiming the senior lawyer contravened Section 38(2) (a) of the EFCC (Establishment) Act, 2004.

In the second count of the charge marked LD/2417c/16, the EFCC alleged that Tarfa attempted to pervert the course of justice by allegedly having a telephone conversation with Justice Mohammed Yunusa of a Federal High Court before whom Tarfa had two pending cases numbered FHC/L/CS/715/2015 and FHC/L/CS/715/2015.

It 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 upon being arraigned, Tarfa pleaded not guilty to the two charges and was granted bail on self-recognition.

In his preliminary objection to the charges, Tarfa is contending that the EFCC failed to state the particular place and time when he committed the offences, which he was being accused of committing.

He also argued that, giving the circumstances of the case, it is the people of Lagos State and not the Federal Republic of Nigeria that ought to file charges against him.

He contended that the EFCC failed to show or attach any proof that it had obtained the fiat or the permission of the Attorney-General of Lagos State before filing the charges against him.

“The EFCC has no power to bring the information/charge as constituted,” Odubela said in the affidavit.

Tarfa also challenged the jurisdiction of the Lagos State High Court to entertain the case.

“This honourable court does not have the jurisdiction to entertain the information as presently constituted as same not only failed to disclose a prima facie case but was filed to irritate, annoy and embarrass the defendant/ applicant,” Odubela averred.

At the resumed proceedings on Monday, the lead counsel in Tarfa’s defence team, Mr. Emeka Ngige (SAN), said the EFCC had filed a counter-affidavit, which he had yet to respond to as he was only served last Friday at about 2.55pm.

Justice Opesanwo adjourned till March 21 to hear all pending applications in the matter.


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