Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Rickey Tarfa was slammed with an amended 26 count charge today by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
The amended charge tabled before Justice A.A Akintoye of the Lagos State High Court Igbosere accused the senior lawyer of refusal to fill asset declaration forms, making false information to an officer of the EFCC and offering gratification to a public official.
Tarfa was alleged to have intentionally offered gratification to Justice Nganjiwa Hyeladzira Ajiya, a Federal High Court Judge on several occasions in order to influence the Judge in the exercise of his officials duties.
He was also said to have provided false information on the statement he made at the EFCC and refused to fill asset declaration forms.
One of the counts reads, “that you Rickey Tarfa, SAN on the 27th day of June, 2012 in Lagos within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, intentionally gave the sum of N1.5 Million to Hon. Justice Hyeladzira Ajiya of the Federal High Court directly from your Zenith Bank Account No. 1002926967, in order that the said Judge acts in the exercise of his official duties contrary to section 64 (1) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, No.11, 2011″.
He pleaded not guilty to the charge.
In view of his plea, the defence counsel, A.J Owonikoko SAN argued that the defendant is standing trial for an offence on the same fact and that the amended charge will prejudice and overreach the defendant.
He told the court that a motion had been filed at the Court of Appeal challenging the proprietary of the charge and urged the court to make reference to the Court of Appeal in the case.
Responding, prosecuting counsel,Rotimi Oyedepo urged the court to dismiss the application which he claimed was intended to delay the case.
He referred to the Administration of Criminal Justice Act of Lagos State which allows for amendment of charges.
After listening to the argument of both counsel,Justice Akintoye dismissed the application of the defence to refer the matter to Court of Appeal and ordered that trial should commence.
Hearing continues on 28 November.