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EFCC's obstruction: Tarfa docked, granted bail

17 February 2016, 10:10

Lagos - A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Rickey Tarfa, was on Tuesday arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in Lagos for allegedly obstructing their officers in performing their lawful duty.

He was, however, granted bail on self recognisance by a Lagos High Court sitting in Igbosere on the island.

The media reports that Tarfa is standing trial on a two-count charge bordering on obstructing officers of law to carry out duty and attempt to pervert justice.

The EFCC Prosecutor, Rotimi Oyedepo, told the court that the defendant committed the offences between May 11 and June 25, 2015, also on February 5, 2016, in Lagos.

He alleged that on February 5, the accused willfully obstructed one Moses Awolusi and one Sanusi Mohammed, both EFCC officers from arresting one Gnanhoue Sourou and one Nazaire Odeste.

Oyedepo said that the accused allegedly obstructed the EFCC officers from arresting the two suspects who were ``reasonably suspected" to have committed economic and financial crimes "by keeping the suspects in his car between 11. 00 a.m. and 4.30 p.m."

Also Read: EFCC denies arresting General Wiwa

The prosecutor also alleged that between May 11 and June 25, 2015, the defendants attempted to pervert the course of justice.

"The accused attempted to pervert the course of justice by commicating with Hon. Justice M.N. Yunusa of the Federal High Court through phone calls.

"The attempt to pervert the course of justice was done in two suits filed by the accused on behalf of his clients, seeking to restrain the commission from performing its statutory duties.

"The suits are No: FHC/L/CS/715/2015 between Rana Prestige Industries Nigeria and suit No: FHC/L/CS/716 between Hair Prestige Manufacturing Nigeria and EFCC, pending before the judge," the prosecutor said.

He said that the offences contravened Sections 38(2) (a) of EFCC (Established) Act, 2004 and 97 (3) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State 2011.

The accused pleaded not guilty.

Counsel to the accused, Adeniyi Akintola (SAN), who led a team of Senior Advocates, urged the court to grant bail to the accused on liberal terms.

He supported his bail application with a 27-paaragraph affidavit and a written address.

Akintola told the court that the offence was a bailable one, and that the accused came to court voluntarily.

He also said that the accused was granted administrative bail on self recognisance, and had been reporting to the commission whenever he was needed.

He assured the court that the accused would not jump bail if granted.

Also Read: EFCC arraigns Rickey Tarfa for obstruction of justice

"The accused has over 60 lawyers in his chambers, four law chambers in the country and other affliated law offices outside Nigeria," he said.

However, the prosecutor opposed the bail application on the grounds that there were overwhelming evidence against the accused.

He told the court that the accused had not challenged the counter affidavit in writing, and should, therefore, not do so orally.

In her ruling, Justice Ashait Opesanwo granted him bail on self recognisance and said that there was no denial to the obedience of  the accused on the administrative bail he was given.

She, however, ordered that the accused should not travel outside the Nigeria without the consent of the court.

Meanwhile, counsel to the accused notified the court that he had filed an application to quash the charge which was served on the prosecutor in the court.

The case was adjourned till March 14 for hearing of the application quashing the charge and also adjourned to April 20 for trial.


Tags efcc

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