Tuesday, February 16, 2016 7:26 pm
Justice Aishat Opesanwo of the Lagos High Court today slammed a travel restriction on Mr Rickey Tarfa, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, charged with obstructing the course of justice and attempting to pervert the course of justice.
In her ruling granting the senior lawyer bail on self-recognition ordered he should not travel out of the country without informing the court.
Chief Adeniyi Akintola, also a senior advocate of Nigeria led an intimidating list of 90 lawyers, including 14 other SANS to the trial.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission alleged that Rickey Tarfa on February 5, 2016 hid two suspects, Nazaire Sorou Gnanhoue and Modeste Finagnon, both Beninoise in his Mercedes Benz Sports Utility car, thereby shielding them from being arrested by EFCC and willfully obstructing the course of justice.
The suspects were alleged to have fraudulently converted some sophisticated manufacturing equipment belonging to Rana Prestige Nigeria Limited company for their own use.
Besides, the accused Beninoise are being investigated for alleged tax evasion running into millions of Naira.
Tarfa was alleged to have prevented two operatives Moses Awolusi and. Sanusi Mohammed of the EFCC who were officially detailed to effect their arrest from carrying out his statutory duties.
Adeniyi Akintola SAN urged the court to grant the defendant bail on self-recognition.
Akintola told the court that the defendant was granted administrative bail by the EFCC and has consistently reported to the office of EFCC every morning by 8:00am. He added that being a senior Advocate of Nigeria, the defendant will not jumped bail adding that he has over 16 lawyers in his law firm.
EFCC prosecutor , Rotimi Oyedepo urged the court to dismiss the application for bail and remand the defendant in prison custody.
He urged the court to dis-countenance the argument that the defendant is a senior Advocate of Nigeria adding that in consideration of crime of this nature the personality of the defendant is not relevant.
He also urged the court to disregard the submissions of the defence lawyer that Tarfa was granted bail on self recognition stressing that he was granted administrative bail following an undertaken by the President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA).
Justice Opesanwo in granting the bail said Rickey Tarfa’s lawyers had presented overwhelming evidence before the court that has not been controverted by the prosecution.
She however bemoaned the number of counsel who were in court for the defendant. She noted that there was no need for such magnitude of support as it amounted to harassment and intimidation of the court.
The case was then adjourned till 14 March for hearing Tarfa’s application asking the court to quash the charge. The trial itself has been fixed for 20 April.
The two-count charge reads: