An Igbosere High Court in Lagos on Monday ratified the foreign medical trip of a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Chief Rickey Tarfa, accused of perversion of the course of justice.
Tarfa is standing trial on a 26-count charge bordering on offering monetary gratification to two judges of the
Federal High Court – Justices Hyeladzira Nganjiwa and Mohammed Yunusa.
He was arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) before Justice Adedayo Akintoye on March 9, 2016.
He pleaded not guilty.
At the resumption of trial on Monday, Tarfa was absent.
His counsel, Mr Abiodun Owonikoko told Justice Akintoye that his client had traveled abroad for medical treatment.
He said Tarfa’s condition “was so bad that he had to travel for surgical operations.”
Tarfa will be away for three months, Owonikoko added.
EFCC counsel Mr Rotimi Oyedepo confirmed to the court that he received a medical report and a letter from the defendant requesting for vacation of Monday’s trial date.
Oyedepo, however, wondered why the defendant didn’t seek leave of court before embarking on the trip.
Justice Akintoye advised the defence to ensure that the Tarfa is in court on the next adjourned date.
She said: “I am giving the defendant the benefit of doubt based on the application before the court, he should be in court on the next adjourned date.”
The court adjourned till March 11 for continuation of trial.
In the charge before the court, the EFCC alleged that between June 27, 2012 and January 8, 2016, Tarfa paid N5.3 million in several tranches into Justice Nganjiwa’s account.
He was also accused of paying N800,000 into Justice Yunusa’s account in three tranches between February 9 and November 30, 2015.
The SAN was also accused of age falsification.
Upon his arraignment on March 9, 2016 and subsequent re-arraignment on November 16, 2016, Tarfa pleaded not guilty and was granted bail on self-recognizance.
The EFCC has since closed its case, during which it noted that Tarfa entered his defence after the court dismissed his no-case submission he filed.
Tarfa’s first witness, Deputy Chief Registrar (DCR) of the Federal High Court in Lagos, Mr Bello Okandeji, is yet to finish his cross-examination.
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