The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC,on November 16, 2016 re-arraigned a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Rickey Tarfa before Justice A.A Akintoye of the Lagos State High Court sitting in Igboshere, over an amended 26-count charge of refusal to fill asset declaration forms, making false information to an officer of the EFCC and offering gratification to a public official.
Rickey Tarfa SAN was alleged to have intentionally offered gratification to Justice Nganjiwa Hyeladzira Ajiya, a Federal High Court Judge on several occasions in order to refrain the Judge from acting in the exercise of his officials. He was also said to have provided false information on the statement he made at the EFCC and refused to fill asset declaration forms.
One of the counts reads that you Rickey Tarfa SAN on the 27th day of June, 2012 in Lagos within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, intentionally gave the sum of N1, 500, 000. 00 (One Million, Five Hundred Thousand Naira only) to Hon. Justice Hyeladzira Ajiya of the Federal High Court directly from your Zenith Bank Account No. 1002926967, in order that the said Judge acts in the exercise of his official duties contrary to section 64 (1) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, No.11, 2011.
He pleaded not guilty to the charges.
In view of his plea, the defense counsel, A.J Owonikoko SAN argued that the defendant is standing trial for an offence on the same fact and that the amended charge will prejudice and overreach the defendant. He told the court that a motion had been filed at the court of appeal challenging the proprietary of the charge and urged the court to make reference to the court of appeal in the case.
Responding, Rotimi Oyedepo the prosecution counsel submitted that the issue does not sustain any subject of appeal. He referred to the Administration of Criminal Justice Act of Lagos State which allows for amendment of charges. Furthermore he stressed that the court has inherent discretion on whether to refer a case to the court of appeal or not. Oyedepo therefore urged the court to dismiss the application which is intended to delay the case.
After listening to the argument of both counsels, Justice Akintoye dismissed the application of the defense to refer the matter to court of appeal and ordered that trial should commence.
The matter was adjourned to November 28, 2016 for continuation.