An Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) witness, Sulaiman Abiola, on Monday told an Ikeja High Court how Rickey Tarfa obstructed justice and shielded his clients from arrest.
EFCC on Feb. 5, alleged that Tarfa wilfully obstructed two of its officers; Moses Awolusi and Sanusi Mohammed from making an arrest of his clients within the premises of the Igbosere High Court.
Tarfa’s clients, Gnanhoue Sourou and Nazaire Odeste, were suspected by the EFFC of committing some financial crimes.
The senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN) is currently being tried on a two-count charge of obstruction of justice and perverting the course of justice by the EFCC at an Ikeja High Court .
At Monday’s trial, Abiola, led in evidence by the counsel to EFCC, Mr G.A Lakanmi, told the court that he witnessed the event on Feb. 5.
“At 11 a.m. after the court proceedings, a team of EFCC operatives led by Moses Awolusi were at the car park of the High Court to arrest the clients of the defendant.
“When the operatives approached Tarfa and informed him of the arrest of his clients, he requested for identification and a copy of the warrant was provided.
“The SAN immediately ordered his clients into his car and ordered his driver to wind up the windows of the car and the engine was left running.
“Tarfa started making several phone calls and this continued for about six hours and at about 5 p.m., Awolusi placed a phone call to the EFCC office for re-enforcement.
“The SAN’s car eventually ran out of fuel and he and his clients had to alight from the car in order to refuel it.
“At that point, the EFCC operatives arrived and arrested both Tarfa and his clients,” Abiola said.
Earlier, during proceedings, the Mercedes Benz Jeep, KJA700CG, in which Tarfa allegedly hid his clients was tendered as exhibit in court.
Admitting the car as an exhibit, Justice Aishat Opesanwo, said “The car key is before the court as an exhibit, if I have the key, I have the car.
“The car should, however, be kept in the possession of the EFCC for safekeeping,” Opesanwo said.
Awolusi, who led the team of EFCC operatives that arrested Tarfa, told the court while being cross-examined by Tarfa’s counsel Mr Abiodun Owonikoko that no warrant was obtained by the anti-graft agency to arrest Tarfa’s clients.
“Though no warrant of arrest was obtained by the EFCC, the EFCC Act gives me powers including powers of arrest,” Awolusi said.
Awolusi added that Tarfa’s clients were eventually charged to court for alleged forgery.
Justice Opesanwo adjourned the case till Jan. 17 and Jan. 26 for continuation of trial.