EFCC trial: Court bars Rickey Tarfa from travelling out of Nigeria

EFCC trial: Court bars Rickey Tarfa from travelling out of Nigeria

Tuesday, February 16, 2016 7:26 pm

Rickey Tarfa with his lawyer, Adeniyi Akintola

Rickey Tarfa with his lawyer, Adeniyi Akintola

Justice Aishat Opesanwo of the Lagos High Court  today slammed a  travel restriction on Mr Rickey Tarfa, a  Senior Advocate of Nigeria, charged with  obstructing the course of justice and attempting to pervert the course of justice.

In her ruling granting the senior lawyer bail on self-recognition ordered he  should not travel out of the country without informing the court.

Chief Adeniyi Akintola, also a senior advocate of Nigeria led an intimidating list of 90 lawyers, including 14 other SANS to the trial.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission  alleged that Rickey Tarfa on February 5, 2016  hid two suspects, Nazaire Sorou Gnanhoue and Modeste Finagnon, both Beninoise in his Mercedes Benz Sports Utility car, thereby shielding them from being arrested by EFCC and willfully obstructing the course of justice.

Rickey Tarfa and other lawyers: Judge complains the high number of lawyers meant to harass and intimidate court

Rickey Tarfa and other lawyers: Judge complains the high number of lawyers meant to harass and intimidate court

The suspects were alleged to have fraudulently converted some sophisticated manufacturing equipment belonging to Rana Prestige Nigeria Limited company for their own use.

Besides, the accused Beninoise are being investigated for alleged tax evasion running into millions of Naira.

Tarfa was alleged to have prevented two operatives Moses Awolusi and. Sanusi Mohammed  of the EFCC who were officially detailed to effect their arrest from carrying out his statutory duties.

Adeniyi Akintola SAN   urged the court to grant the defendant bail on self-recognition.

Akintola told the court that the defendant was granted administrative bail by the EFCC and has consistently reported to the office of EFCC every morning by 8:00am.  He added that being a senior Advocate of Nigeria,  the defendant will not jumped bail adding that he has over 16 lawyers in his law firm.

EFCC prosecutor ,  Rotimi Oyedepo urged the court to dismiss the application for bail and remand the defendant in prison custody.

He urged the court to dis-countenance the argument that the  defendant is a senior Advocate of Nigeria adding that in consideration of crime of this nature the personality of the defendant is not relevant.

He also urged the court to disregard the submissions of the defence lawyer that Tarfa was granted bail on self recognition stressing that he was granted administrative bail following an undertaken by the President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA).

Justice Opesanwo in granting the bail said  Rickey Tarfa’s lawyers had presented overwhelming evidence before the court that has not been controverted by the prosecution.

She however bemoaned the number of counsel who were in court for the defendant. She noted that there was no need for such magnitude of support as it amounted to harassment and intimidation of the court.

The case was  then adjourned till 14 March for hearing Tarfa’s  application  asking the court to quash the charge. The trial itself has been fixed for 20 April.

The two-count charge reads:

“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”
Count 2:
“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”.

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One Comment

  • haba mallam says:

    Showing total disrespect to our judicial system by showing up with 90 lawyers as if it is a campaign gathering.You’re not ABOVE THE LAW. EFCC should prosecute him to the fullest extent of the law

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