Bribery: Rickey Tarfa calls FHC’s DCR as witness
5 hours ago/
The trial of Mr. Rickey Tarfa (SAN) for alleged bribery of judges continued on Monday with the senior lawyer calling the Deputy Chief Registrar of the Federal High Court in Lagos, Mr. Bello Okandeji, as a witness.
Tarfa is being prosecuted before the Lagos State High Court in Igbosere on 26 charges.
He was accused of offering monetary gratification to two judges of the Federal High Court – Justices Hyeladzira Nganjiwa and Mohammed Yunusa – to allegedly pervert the course of justice.
The EFCC claimed that between June 27, 2012, and January 8, 2016, Tarfa paid a total of N5.3m in several tranches into Justice Nganjiwa’s account.
He was also accused of paying into Justice Yunusa’s account, a total of N800, 000 in three tranches between February 9 and November 30, 2015.
The SAN was equally accused of age falsification.
Upon his arraignment on March 9, 2016, and subsequent re-arraignment on November 16, 2016, Tarfa pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The EFCC had since opened and closed its case, leaving the floor for Tarfa to enter his defence.
The SAN entered his defence after the court dismissed the no-case submission that he filed.
At the Monday’s proceedings in the case, he fielded the DCR of the Federal High Court, Okandeji, to testify in his defence.
Led in evidence by the defendant’s counsel, Mr. Jelili Owonikoko (SAN), Okandeji said he knew Tarfa very well as one of the counsels who appear before the Federal High Court in Lagos on a daily basis.
Okandeji, who explained that his appearance in court was based on a subpoena issued on him by the trial judge, Justice Adedayo Akintoye, said he was not aware of any official complaint lodged to the Federal High Court authorities against Justices Nganjiwa and Yunusa.
He added that he did not know Justice Nganjiwa before his appointment as a judge, but knew that Justice Yunusa previously worked at the industrial court before his appointment as a judge.
Okandeji also told the court in his evidence-in-chief that only the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court and the administrative judges in different divisions of the court were in charge of the assignment of cases to judges.
Under cross-examination by the prosecutor, Rotimi Oyedepo, Okandeji said he was aware that the National Judicial Council had sent a letter to President Muhammadu Buhari, recommending Justice Yunusa for dismissal, “but the President has yet to sign it.”
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