Trial: Chronicle of Rickey Tarfa’s zig-zag medical excuses

Trial: Chronicle of Rickey Tarfa’s zig-zag medical excuses

Saturday, June 1, 2019 10:34 am


…Judge demands medical report from a government hospital

Akin Kuponiyi

Rickey Tarfa is standing trial on a 26-count charge of offering gratification to two Judges Federal High Court – Justices Hyeladzira Nganjiwa and Mohammed Yunusa – as well as alleged justice perversion.

The case has stalled since January 21, when the Silk travelled abroad following a medical emergency.

Upon his return, Tarfa did not set foot in the courtroom on March 11, 19 and May 8 when the matter came up.

He always stayed downstairs in his car.

According to his counsel, Mr Abiodun Owonikoko SAN, Tarfa was unable to climb the staircase leading to Justice Akintoye’s courtroom, even on a wheelchair, because of the severity of his condition.

On March 19, Owonikoko filed a medical recommendation from Tarfa’s doctors which stated that the defendant required a minimum of three months medical leave to enable him recuperate.

When the case last came up on May 8, Justice Akintoye reasoned that Tarfa might be able to access a courtroom with minimal entry challenges, such as one on the ground floor.

The judge adjourned to find a convenient courtroom to continue the trial.

Yesterday, space was freed up for the case to continue in another courtroom often used by Justice Iyabo Akinkugube on the ground floor of the nearby old High Court building on the court premises.

But when the case was mentioned , Tarfa still wasn’t in court.

His counsel informed the judge that, yet again, Tarfa was in the car outside, but, this time, with his physiotherapist.

Owonikoko told the court that he had filed an application seeking more time for Tarfa’s recuperation.

But Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) counsel, Mr Usman Buhari opposed him.

“My lord, we have filed a motion challenging the applicant’s application,” Buhari said.

Unlike previous proceedings, Justice Akintoye did not require confirmation that Tarfa was actually outside,

rather the judge ordered that before Tarfa’s application was taken she wanted to see a medical report on the defendant’s health from a general hospital or a teaching hospital.

The Lagos High Court sitting at in Igbosere south west Nigeria ordered a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mr Rickey Tarfa, to present a fresh medical report explaining his health status.

The presiding Judge, Justice Adedayo Akintoye made the order following Tarfa’s application for more time to recuperate from surgery.

She adjourned further proceedings till June 21.

Tarfa was arraigned by the EFCC on March 9, 2016 and subsequently re-arraigned on November 16, 2016 on an amended charge.

The anti-graft agency claimed that between June 27, 2012 and January 8, 2016, Tarfa paid a total of N5.3 million in several tranches into Justice Nganjiwa’s bank account.

He was also accused of paying into Justice Yunusa’s account, N800,000 in three tranches between February 9 and November 30, 2015.

The commission alleged that the payments were to compromise the judges.

The SAN was equally accused of age falsification.

Tarfa pleaded not guilty and was granted bail on self-recognizance.

The EFCC has since closed its case, following which Tarfa opened his defence after the court dismissed his no-case submission.

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