By Onozure Dania
LAGOS—A Senior Advocate of Nigeria Rickey Tarfa, SAN, standing trial over alleged bribery , attempt to pervert justice and age falsification, yesterday told a Lagos High Court sitting at Igbosere that he had no case to answer.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, had on October 23 closed his case after calling up six witnesses who testified against Rickey Tarfa, which began in March 2016.
At the last adjourned date, counsel to EFCC, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, had told the court that the prosecution had no more witnesses to call in the case.
Responding to Oyedepo, Tarfa’s counsel, Mr Jelili Owonikoko, SAN, had sought an adjournment to enable the defence to analyse its case and decide on the step to take. Consequently, Justice Adedayo Akintoye adjourned until November 16 to hear from the defence.
At the resumed hearing of the case yesterday, the counsel to Tarfa, Mr Owonikoko SAN , told the court that he had filed a no case submission.
He said “At the last adjourned date the prosecution closed their case, upon the view of the prosecution,our response in this case is a no case submission that will suffice this case. “
Owonikoko said “on November 9, 2017, we filed an application that the defendant has no case to answer. “I urge your lordship to discharge the defendant on the view that there is no case to answer”
He stated that the application was supported with an affidavit and a written address which had been served the prosecution.
In his response the EFCC prosecutor, Mr Nnemeka Omewa, confirmed the service of the no case submission on them but that they are yet to file a reply.
Omewa said “ We were served late last Friday with a 54 paragraphs of a no case submission, we are still going through them and we have not been able to respond to the no case submission, we shall be asking for a short date to enable us respond.”
However, Justice Adedayo Akintoye, adjourned to December 12, 2017, for hearing of the application.
The EFCC had first arraigned Tarfa on March 9, 2016 on a 27-count charge bordering on offering of gratification to some judges and perversion of the course of justice.
The anti-graft agency alleged, for instance, that Tarfa offered N5.3 million gratification to a judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Hyeladzira Nganjiwa, to ‘compromise’ the judge.
The agency also claimed that Tarfa transferred the money in several tranches to the judge between June 27, 2012 and December 23, 2014.
The commission further alleged that the SAN lied about his age and failed to declare his assets to the commission upon his arrest on February 5, 2015.
The offences contravened Section 64 (1) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011.
But Tarfa pleaded not guilty on all the counts. He, subsequently, sought to quash the charges on the argument that they were incompetent, but Justice Akintoye dismissed his application which made Tarfa to go on appeal.