Wednesday, March 9, 2016 7:31 pm
In two separate actions, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC on Wednesday March 9, 2016 arraigned Rickey Tarfa, SAN, and Dr Joseph Nwobike for bribing judges.
Tarfa was docked before Justice A. A. Akintoye of the Lagos State High Court, Igbosere on a 27-count charge bordering on alleged wilful obstruction of authorised officers of EFCC, refusing to declare asset, making false information and offering gratification to a public official.
When the charge was read to him, Tarfa pleaded not guilty.
In view of his plea, prosecution counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, asked the court to fix a date for trial and to remand the defendant in prison custody.
However, counsel to Tarfa, Bolaji Ayorinde, SAN, told the court that he has filed an application for bail.
He urged the court to grant bail to the defendant on self-recognisance.
Justice Akintoye granted bail to the defendant on self-recognisance and adjourned the matter to March 22 for trial.
One of the counts read: ‘That you Rickey Tarfa SAN on the 29th day of January 2014 in Lagos within the jurisdiction of this honourable court intentionally gave the sum of N1, 500,000.00 (One Million, Five Hundred Thousand Naira only) to Hon. Justice Nganjiwa Hyeladzira Ajiya of the Federal High Court directly from your Zenith Bank Account No. 1002926967 in order that the said judge acts in the exercise of his official duties.’
“That you Rickey Tarfa SAN on or about the 15th day of December, 2015 in Lagos within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court intentionally gave the sum of N500,000.00 (five hundred thousand naira only) to Hon. Mohammed Nasir Yunusa of the Federal High Court indirectly through Awa Ajia Nigeria Limited’s account No. 0000971941 domiciled in Access Bank Plc belonging to Hon. Justice Nganjiwa Hyeladzira Ajiya in order that Hon. Mohammed Nasir Yunusa refrains from acting in the exercise of his official duties.”
In a separate court, the EFCC also arraigned Dr Joseph Nwobike, SAN before Justice R.I.B Adebiyi of the Lagos State High Court on five count charge of allegedly offering gratification and attempting to pervert course of justice.
Nwobike is facing criminal prosecution for allegedly bribing a Federal High Court Judge to refrain from exercising the duties of his office.
The defendant admitted in his statement to the EFCC that he gave N750, 000 to Justice Yunusa to assist the Judge in the treatment of his ailing mother who is alleged to be suffering from kidney disease.
One of the counts reads: that “You Dr Joseph Nwobike (SAN) on the 28th day of March 2015 in Lagos within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, intentionally gave the sum of N750,000 (Seven Hundred and Fifty Thousand Naira Only) to Honourable Justice Mohammed Nasir Yunusa of the Federal High Court directly through your United Bank for Africa Account No. 1002664061 in order that the said Judge refrains from acting in the exercise of his official duties and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 64 (1) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State No. 11 of 2011”.
Nwobike pleaded not guilty when the charge was read to him. In view of his plea, Rotimi Oyedepo, the prosecution counsel asked the court for a trial date.
However, the defendant’s counsel, A.I Layonu, SAN prayed the court to admit his client to bail on self-recognisance.
Oyedepo did not oppose the prayer of the defence counsel. Consequently, Justice Adebiyi admitted Nwobike to bail on self-recognisance and adjourned the matter to 11th, 21st, and 22nd April 2016 for commencement of trial.