Embattled Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr. Rickey Tarfa, has described as false and malicious the claim by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission that he bribed Justice Justice Hyeladzira Nganjiwa of the Federal High Court with a total of N5,335,000 between June 27, 2012 and December 23, 2014.
The EFCC, in a fresh 27 counts it filed before the Lagos State High Court in Igbosere on Friday, accused Tarfa of transferring N5.3m to Justice Nganjiwa, in order to compromise the judge.
It also accused Tarfa 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.
But in a statement on Monday by the head of his law chambers, John Odubela, Tarfa, while describing the fresh charges filed against him as laughable, claimed that Justice Nganjiwa who he allegedly bribed was a former employee in his chambers.
In the said statement titled, “Rickey Tarfa (SAN): Recurrent persecution by EFCC”, Odubela claimed that the monies paid to Justice Nganjiwa were proceeds of the briefs he attracted to Rickey Tarfa’s chambers, while he was a lawyer before his appointment as a judge.
“Mr. Nganjiwa was absorbed into the firm in the year 1995 immediately after leaving the service of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, where he rose to the position of Deputy Director (Prosecution) and was with us until he was appointed to the bench of the Federal High Court in 2012.
“During this period, Nganjiwa, who specialised in criminal trials, attracted many briefs/clients because of his expertise in that branch of the law.
“Upon his appointment as a judge, we continued with the cases he brought to the chambers.
“In the light of the above, we have continued to discharge the firm’s financial obligations to him in respect of cases he has handled for the firm as a practicing legal practitioner in our law firm and those he brought to the chambers,” Odubela said.
He said though Tarfa gave his age as 43 he did not rely on it in the body of the statement he made to the EFCC on February 5 when he was arrested, adding that the matter would be decided by the court.k