By Onozure Dania
Lagos—THE Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC, yesterday told a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, Rickey Tarfa, standing trial over alleged gratification, and an attempt to pervert justice and age falsification, that he had a case to answer.
EFCC, in its counter-affidavit opposing a no-case submission by Tarfa, insisted that he had a case to answer because of perceived overwhelming evidence adduced by the prosecution in the course of the trial.
At the last adjourned date, Tarfa, had filed a no-case submission.
In response to the no case submission, Zakari Usman, an EFCC investigative officer, claimed all the averments contained in the applicants 21 paragraphs of no case submission, were mostly untrue.
In a 12 paragraphs affidavit deposed to by Usman, he contended that in view of the first to fifth prosecution witnesses and the documentary evidence tendered and marked as exhibits, the prosecution had established a prima facie case against the applicant.
According to him: “The evidence of the prosecution witnesses is strong and un-discredited that this honourable Court can rely on to safely convict the applicant. In view of the evidence led by the prosecution, counsel Rotimi Oyedepo, the applicant ought to be called upon to open his defence and not be discharged and acquitted.”
EFCC also said the information filed before the court against the defendant was not abuse of prosecutorial power of the EFCC, but the prosecution rather established a prima facie case against the defendant, saying “The Commission did not need a petition or a complaint to cause investigation to be conducted on any person who is reasonably suspected to have committed economic and financial related crimes.”
According to Usman, the EFCC through its officers investigated the case discretely and professionally, claiming the commission diligently prosecuted the defendant.
“The applicant is not entitled to any exemplary damages as the prosecution of this case against the applicant was not malicious”, he declared.
The Anti-graft agency however urged the court to dismiss the no case submission, as the evidence adduced by the prosecution against the defendant before the court clearly established a prima facie case against the defendant.
EFCC said: ”It will be in the interest of justice to refuse this application, more so when the evidence adduced by the prosecution against the applicant before this honourable court clearly established a prima facie case against the applicant.”
The EFCC had arraigned Tarfa on March 9, 2016 on a 27-count charge bordering on offering of gratification to some judges and perversion of the course of justice, before a Lagos High Court, sitting at Igbosere.
The anti-graft agency alleged, that Tarfa offered N5.3 million gratification to a judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Hyeladzira Nganjiwa, to ‘compromise’ the judge.
The commission had also claimed that Tarfa transferred the money in several tranches to the judge between June 27, 2012 and December 23, 2014.
EFCC further alleged that the SAN lied about his age and failed to declare his assets to the commission upon his arrest on February 5, 2015. The offences contravened Section 64 (1) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011.
But Tarfa pleaded not guilty on all the counts. He, subsequently, sought to quash the charges on the argument that they were incompetent. However, Justice Akintoye dismissed his application which made Tarfa to go on appeal.