Law News
EFCC arraigns Tarfa, Nwobike over bribery charges

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Wednesday arraigned two Senior Advocates of Nigeria, Mr. Rickey Tarfa and Dr. Joseph Nwobike, for allegedly offering gratification to judges who are public officers.

The offence is said to be contrary to section 64 (1) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, No.11, 2011.

While Tarfa was arraigned on 27 counts before Justice A.A. Akintoye of a Lagos State High Court in Igbosere, Nwobike was arraigned on five counts before Justice Raliat Adebiyi of the same court.

In the charge presented to the court by the EFCC prosecutor who handled both cases, Rotimi Oyedepo, Tarfa was accused of transferring a total of N5.3m to Justice Hyeladzira Nganjiwa, of the Federal High Court, between June 27, 2012 and December 23, 2014 in order to allegedly compromise the judge.

Tarfa was also accused of refusing to declare his assets to the anti-graft agency on February 10, contrary to the provisions of section 27(3)(c) of the EFCC (Establishment) Act, 2004.

Among other things, the EFCC also charged Tarfa with the offence of giving false information to the anti-graft agency, by allegedly giving his age as 43 when he was indeed 54, an act the EFCC claimed to be an offence under section 38(2) (a) of the EFCC (Establishment) Act, 2004.

The senior advocate, however, pleaded not guilty to the entire 27 counts.

His lawyer, Chief Bolaji Ayorinde (SAN), urged the court to admit him to bail on self recognisance, saying that his client was already enjoying bail on the same condition from Justice Aishat Opesanwo, of the same court, where he was last month arraigned on two counts of wilful obstruction of justice.

Ayorinde pointed out that Tarfa was also enjoying an administrative bail granted him by the EFCC. He said Tarfa is a senior member of the Bar, who had no previous crime records.

But Oyedepo opposed the bail on the grounds that the allegations in the fresh 27 counts before Justice Akintoye were different from the two counts before Justice Opesanwo.

While conceding that bail was at the discretion of the judge, Oyedepo urged Justice Akintoye to impose conditions that will ensure that Tarfa attend his trial.

After hearing the parties out, Justice Akintoye rose for a few minutes, and when she later returned, she admitted Tarfa to bail on self recognisance and adjourned till March 22, 2016 for commencement of trial.

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