By Onozure Dania, LAGOS
The ongoing trial of a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, Rickey Tarfa, charged with perversion of the course of justice was, today, stalled due to the absence of Tarfa and his counsel.
Tarfa is standing trial before a Lagos High Court sitting at Tarfa Balewa Square, on a 26-count charge bordering on offering monetary gratification to two judges of the Federal High Court, Justices Hyeladzira Nganjiwa and Mohammed Yunusa.
At the resumed hearing of the trial today, the counsel to Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC, Mr Suleman Mohammed, announced his appearance and informed the court that the counsel to Tarfa and the defendant were not in court.
He said the counsel and his client were given notices for the hearing date.
Justice Adedayo Akintoye adjourned the case until January 28, 2022, for further hearing.
Tarfa was not able to attend court proceedings all through 2019 due to his illhealth.
His counsel, Mr Abiodun Owonikoko, had applied to the court for extension of time to allow his client recuperate before attending court’s proceedings.
The court, however, advised him after several adjournments to produce other witnesses to continue with his defence to avoid stalling the trial.
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 N800,000 in three tranches into Justice Yunusa’s account between February 9 and November 30, 2015.
The commission alleged that the payments were to compromise the judges.
The learned silk was equally accused of age falsification.
Tarfa pleaded not guilty and was granted bail on self-recognition.
EFCC has since closed its case, following which Tarfa opened his defence after the court dismissed his no-case submission.