A Lagos State High Court in Ikeja on Monday admitted as exhibit a Mercedez Benz SUV with Registration No. KJA 700 CG, belonging to a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr. Rickey Tarfa.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had tendered the key of the car before Justice Aishat Opesanwo to prove the charges of justice obstruction and perversion of the course of justice it filed against Tarfa in February.
The EFCC had on February 16, 2016 arraigned Tarfa on two counts before Justice Opesanwo, alleging that the SAN obstructed the arrest of two suspects of financial crimes by hiding the suspects in his jeep.
The EFCC claimed further that while allegedly hiding the suspects – Gnahouse Nazaire and Senoue Modeste – in his jeep, Tarfa made a telephone call to Justice Mohammed Yunusa of the Federal High Court to pervert the course of justice.
The EFCC accused the SAN of violating Section 38(2) (a) of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act, 2004.
But Tarfa pleaded not guilty to the charges.
At the resumed proceedings in the case on Monday, the EFCC, through its operative, Moses Awolusi, tendered the key of the car as an exhibit in evidence against Tarfa.
Admitting the car as an exhibit, Justice Opesanwo held, “The car key is before the court as an exhibit, if I have the key, I have the car, but the commission should retain the custody of the car for safekeeping.”
The second witness for the EFCC on Monday, Sulaiman Abiola, told Justice Opesanwo that Tarfa indeed obstructed the EFCC operatives in the course of their lawful duty.
Abiola, a lawyer, said he was at the Lagos State High Court in Igbosere for a case on February 5, 2016, and witnessed how Tarfa obstructed operatives of the EFCC.
Led in evidence by the EFCC prosecutor, Mr. G. A. Lakanmi, the witness said, “After the court proceedings at about 11am or thereabouts, the EFCC operatives, led by Mr. Moses Awolusi, were at the court’s car park to arrest the suspects in the case I came for.
“The operatives approached Mr. Tarfa and informed him of the plan to arrest his clients, but Mr. Tarfa asked for their identification and warrant, which they showed him.
“Mr. Tarfa later asked the clients to enter his car and instructed his driver to wind up the windows of the car and kept the engine running.
“Thereafter, he started making calls which I didn’t know anything about. It continued like that till about 5pm from the morning when Mr. Moses Awolusi now placed a call to his office and asked for reinforcements.
“It was about 5pm when the fuel in the car was about going down that the defendant (Tarfa) came down and his clients (suspects) came down from the car in order to refuel it.
“At that point, the operatives of the EFCC arrested the suspects and Mr. Rickey Tarfa (SAN).”
Further hearing in the case was adjourned till January 17, 2017.