I Own Account Tarfa Paid ‘Gratification’ Money Into – Witness

A defence witness in the ongoing trial of Rickey Tarfa (SAN) told a Lagos High Court in Igbosere on Wednesday that an account into which Tarfa deposited N225,000, belongs to him and not Justice Mohammed Nasir Yinusa.
The Abuja-based lawyer, Mohammed Auwal Yinusa, who testified for the defendant, told Justice Adedayo Akintoye that he was shocked to read in the newspapers that his Access Bank account number was quoted as belonging to the Judge.
Yinusa, in the employment of Tarfa’s law firm between 2011 and 2014, testified as the second defence witness in the SAN’s trial for alleged gratification.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) arraigned Tarfa on March 10, 2016 on a 27-count charge which was subsequently amended to 26 counts.
He was accused of alleged willful obstruction of EFCC officials, refusal to declare assets and giving false information to a public officer, by lying about his age.
According to the EFCC, the SAN paid N225,000 in 2014 into an Access Bank account it said belonged to Federal High Court judge, Justice Yinusa.
The agency also alleged, among others, that Tarfa offered N5.3m as gratification to Justice Nyeladzira Nganjiwa in order to compromise the Judge.
It claimed that Tarfa transferred the money in several tranches between June 27, 2012 and December 23, 2014.
Tarfa pleaded not guilty.
Justice Akintoye had on March 13, dismissed a no case submission by Tarfa and ordered him open his defence.
At the commencement of proceedings Wednesday, Tarfa’s counsel, Mr Abiodun Owonikoko (SAN), led Yinusa in examination-in-chief.
Yinusa said he left Tarfa’s employ in 2014 for further studies abroad, following which the SAN gifted him N225,000 to support his education.
He explained that he is the owner of the Access Bank account into which the N225,000 which the EFCC claimed that Tarfa bribed a judge with, was paid, and not Justice Yinusa.
Yinusa said: “I found that my Access Bank account was quoted in that publication. I was in a state of shock.”
He added that he rushed to his bank and obtained a certified true copy of his statement of account, which showed that it was indeed his account that was quoted by the EFCC.
Yinusa said: “I was shocked, my Lord, because I am not a judge, I never received gratification from the defendant. My name is Mohammed Auwal Yinusa. The judge’s name is Mohammed Nasir Yinusa. I am not related to him. He is from Yobe State; I am Igalla from Kogi State. Untill recently when I saw him on television, I had never set my eyes on him.”
When cross examined by the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, Yinusa said other payments Tarfa allegedly made to any other judge, were not made through his bank account.
Justice Akintoye adjourned till Thursday for re-examination of the witness.

Author: News Editor

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