An Economic and Financial Crimes Commission witness, Sulaiman Abiola, on Monday told an Ikeja High Court how Rickey Tarfa obstructed justice and shielded his clients from arrest.
The EFCC on February 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 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 the EFCC, G.A. Lakanmi, told the court that he witnessed the event on February 5.
Abiola said: “At 11am 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.”
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.
Awolusi, who led the team of EFCC operatives that arrested Tarfa, told the court while being cross-examined by Tarfa’s counsel, Abiodun Owonikoko, that no warrant was obtained by the anti-graft agency to arrest Tarfa’s clients.
Awolusi said: “Though no warrant of arrest was obtained by the EFCC, the EFCC Act gives me powers, including powers of arrest.”
Awolusi added that Tarfa’s clients were eventually charged to court for alleged forgery.
Justice Opesanwo adjourned the case till January 17 and 26 for continuation of trial.