Ricky Tarfa, Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), must be wondering by now what hit him. Since the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), rimmed him in on nribery allegations, the anti-graft body has not allowed him a breathing space a bit.
On Monday, the EFCC in a counter affidavit in response to the application filed by the senior lawyer which urged the Lagos State High Court to quash the charge against him, stated that Tarfa actually communicated with Justice Mohammed Yunusa of the Federal High Court to deliver judgment in his favour in two suits against EFCC.
In the counter affidavit filed by the EFCC in opposition to the application to quash the charge, deposed by one Sanusi Mohammed, an operative of the commission, it said the defendant allegedly committed the said offences.
In the 28-paragraph affidavit, the deponent averred that in the process of investigating a petition dated December 16, 2013, the defendant filed two fundamental rights enforcement suit No FHC/L/CS/715/2015 and FHC/L/CS/716/2015 on behalf of his clients against the commission.
The deponent averred that Justice Mohammed Yunusa presided over the two suits in which the Judge delivered judgment on September 8, 2015 respectively in favour of the defendant and his clients and the court awarded a total sum of N10 million in the two cases as damages against the EFCC and two other respondents.
“During the pendency of the proceedings in the said suits, the commission received intelligence that the defendant was communicating with Justice Yunusa with a view to get a favourable judgment against the commission,” the EFCC said in the counter affidavit.
The commission also alleged that the chambers of the defendant were in the habit of instructing the registrars of the Federal High Court to assign matters being handled by the chambers to Justice Yunusa.
At the resumed hearing of the matter on Monday which was slated for hearing of the application, counsel to Tarfa, Nnaemeka Ngige (SAN) informed the court that the EFCC served him its counter affidavit on Friday at about 2:50pm, which made him unable to reply the counter until Monday morning in the court.
EFCC’s counsel, Gbolahan Latona, in his response confirmed that the receipt of Ngige’s reply, adding that he needed more time to study the reply.
The trial Judge, Justice Aishat Opesanwo, however, adjourned till March 21, for the hearing of the pending application.
Tarfa was arraigned before Justice Opesanwo of the Lagos High Court on February 16 on a two-count charge bordering on alleged willfully obstruction of an officer of the agency to carry out his duty.
But the senior lawyer in response to the suit filed an application challenging the jurisdiction of the Lagos High Court to entertain the matter.
The commission had also last week arraigned the lawyer on another 28-count charge of failure to declare his assets, bribing of Judges, among others, before Justice A. A. Akintoye of the same court.