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Friday, February 9, 2018

Bribery: Court dismisses Rickey Tarfa’s no-case submission, N520m claims



Justice Adedayo Akintoye of the Lagos State High Court sitting in Igbosere, Lagos, on February 9, 2018, dismissed a no-case submission filed by Rickey Tarfa, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, in response to the criminal charge filed against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC. 

Tarfa is facing trial on an amended 26-count charge bordering on alleged willful obstruction of authorised officials of the EFCC, refusal to declare assets, making false information and offering gratification to a public official.

In the application, Tarfa, through his counsel, Jelili Owonikoko, SAN, prayed the court to “slam the hammer” on the EFCC for what he described as “malicious prosecution.”

Tarfa also prayed the court to award the sum of N520 million damages to him as compensation.

On the allegation that the defendant lied about his age during interrogation, the defence counsel, Owonikoko, said there was a difference between falsehood and mistake.

“Tarfa made a mistake, which the EFCC ought to have drawn his attention to rather than springing a surprise on him by making the mistake a basis for a criminal charge,” Owonikoko said. 

Tarfa’s lawyer further submitted that his client’s reputation and occupation had suffered a great deal.

However, the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, opposed Tarfa’s no-case submission, and urged the court to dismiss the application.

Oyedepo also urged the court to call on the defendant to explain the allegations against him.
Delivering his ruling today, Justice Akintoye held that the arguments on the no-case submission advanced by counsel to the defendant could not hold water at this stage of the trial because the prosecution had established a prima-facie case against the defendant. 

"The prosecution has established extended elements of facts in the charge. The evidence of the prosecution has not been discredited during cross- examination by the defence.

"I find no merit in this prayer. The no-case submission is hereby dismissed,” the judge said.
Consequently, the judge ordered the defendant to open his defence.

Justice Akintoye adjourned to March 13, 21 and 22, 2018 for the defendant to open his defence.
The EFCC had, on Monday, October 23, 2017, closed its case against Tarfa, after presenting a number of witnesses who testified against the defendant.

A prosecution witnesses, Usman Zakari, an investigator with the EFCC, had told the court how the defendant lied about his age and how he refused to fill the assets declaration form administered on him in line with the EFCC Act Section 7 (a) and (b).

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