Senior Advocate Of Nigeria and leading lawyer, Rickey Tarfa, on Tuesday appeared at a Lagos state High Court, Igbosere, on 2-count charge by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)with 90 Senior Advocates Of Nigeria (SAN) representing him.
He is allegedly accused by the EFCC of obstructing two anti-corruption agents on 5 February, from arresting Gnanhooue Sourou and Nazaire Odeste, who were alleged to have committed economic and financial crimes that contravened Section 38(2) (a) of the EFCC Establishment Act of 2004 by keeping them in his car.
In the second charge, he is accused of perverting the course of justice between May and June, 2015, by communicating through his personal mobile phone with a judge overseeing a trial between the EFCC and two private companies which Mr. Tarfa is representing.
Mr. Tarfa pleaded not guilty to both counts before the presiding Judge, Justice Opesanwo, who granted bail to Tarfa on self-recognizance but however, stated that the defendant cannot travel out of the country without obtaining permission from the court.
The judge also decried the large number of lawyers in court, saying that it was tantamount to intimidation and harassment of the court.
Lead counsel to the defense Adeniyi Akintola, also informed the court that an application to dismiss the charge had been filed. The prosecution quickly notified the court that he wasn’t aware of the application, hence, he was immediately given the application by the defense lawyer.
The case was adjourned to March 14 for deliberation of the dismissal application and the substantive suit pushed forward to April 20, 2016.
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Nigerians in their usual nature, have been reacting to the drama via social media.
Rickey Tarfa’s charges are;
“That You Rickey Tarfa (SAN) on or about the 5th day of February, 2016 in Lagos within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, wilfully obstructed Moses Awolusi and Sanusi Mohammed, authorized officer of Economic and Financial Crime Commission from arresting GNANHOUE SOUROU and NAZAIRE ODESTE who were reasonably suspected to have committed economic and financial crimes by keeping the said suspects in your car between 11.00 hours to 16: 30 hours.”
“RICKEY TARFA (SAN) between 11th of May and 25th of June, 2015 in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court attempted 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 EFCC and Suit No: FHC/L/CS/716 between Hair Prestige Manufacturing Nigeria and EFCC filed by you on behalf of the applicants in the two suits seeking to retrain the commission from performing its statutory duties were pending before the said judge.”