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EFCC’s inability to provide documents stalls Rickey Tarfa’s trial

The  proposed trial of Mr Rickey Tarfa, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), who was arraigned in court by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, for allegedly shielding two fraud suspects, was on Monday, stalled due to the inability of the EFCC to provide the defense team necessary documents required for the trial.

It will be recalled that the anti-graft agency had dragged Tarfa before the court for allegedly preventing its officers from arresting two fraud suspects, Nadir Odeste and Gnanhoue of Rane Prestige Nig.Ltd and Hair Prestige Nig. Ltd, on the premises of the state High Court, Igbosere.

At the hearing of the matter on Monday, before Justice Aishat Opesanwo, counsel to the prosecution, Abba Mohammed, tendered before the court a petition written by the prosecution witness, Awolusi Moses, intimating the Deputy Director of Operation, how the defendant allegedly prevented the arrest of the suspects.

However, in his reaction, the defence counsel, Abiodun Owonikoko (SAN) objected to the tendering of the document, on the grounds that it was not included in the proof of evidence filed before the court by the prosecution.

“The petition written by the PW1 was not front loaded in the proof of evidence of the prosecution. The EFCC adopted a tactics of trial by ambush as we are never aware of the petition as part of proof of evidence contrary to standard rule of criminal procedure,” he said.

“The whole world is watching the trial, more so the EFCC has finished the trial on the pages of newspaper and now cannot continue in court. We are shocked that since the last adjournment, prosecution has not done the needful to commence trial,” he said.

Owonikoko further said his client has been out of practice as a result of the trial “That is why we are ready to speed up the trial without delay. The whole world is watching.”

Irked be the action of the EFCC, Justice Opesanwo said she was shocked by the action of the commission, adding that the matter is of public importance and interest. She added that the court vacated other matters earlier scheduled to hear the matter but it was obvious the agency  was not prepared for this trial.

She therefore adjourned the matter till October 31, 2016.