Alleged perversion of justice: Court orders Rickey Tarfa to bring other witnesses
An Igbosere High Court in Lagos has ordered a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Rickey Tarfa, charged with perversion of justice, to produce his other witnesses to continue with his defence, to avoid stalling the case, due to his ill health.
Justice Adedayo Akintoye gave the order on Tuesday following Tarfa’s application for a long adjournment to enable him recuperate.
Tarfa has not attended his trial since January 21, when he travelled abroad, following a medical emergency.
He is standing trial on a 26-count charge of offering gratification to two judges of the Federal High Court – Justices Hyeladzira Nganjiwa and Mohammed Yunusa – as well as alleged justice perversion.
At the resumed hearing, Counsel to Tarfa, Mr Abiodun Owonikoko, informed the court that he had filed further affidavit seeking an adjournment till December to enable the defendant attend physiotherapy sessions recommended by his doctors.
“The affidavit is further based on the medical advice to enable the defendant recuperate from his surgery and attend physiotherapy sessions,” Owonikoko said.
He also told the court that apart from the defendant, “there are three other witnesses who would give evidence in the case”.
In his response, the Prosecutor, Mr. S. I. Suleman, said: “I confirm the receipt of further affidavit. We leave it to the discretion of the court.
“However, we want the court to take cognisance of several applications from the defendant.”
Akintoye said the defence had asked for a long adjournment in December, due to the medical condition of the defendant.
She acknowledged the receipt of the medical report by the court.
Akintoye, however, asked the defence to get in touch with the defendant “to get other witnesses so that this case can proceed because the case has been adjourned severally due to the defendant’s illness.
“I don’t see why the defence can’t continue with the other witnesses till the defendant recovers.
“This case cannot be stalled since there are three other witnesses remaining.”
She, however, adjourned the case until November 25 for continuation of defence.
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 Feb. 9 and Nov. 30, 2015.
The commission alleged that the payments were to compromise the judges.
The SAN was equally accused of age falsification.
Tarfa, however, 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.