A prosecution witness for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), on Monday, gave a detailed account of how a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Rickey Tarfa, shielded two wanted fraud suspects from being arrested by operatives of the commission.
Mr Sulaiman Salaudeen Abiola, a legal practitioner, told an Ikeja High Court how Tarfa allegedly obstructed the course of justice by hiding the wanted men in his car for over four hours.
It will be recalled that the EFCC had dragged Tarfa before the court for allegedly preventing its officers from arresting some suspects, Nadir Odeste and Gnanhoue of Rane Prestige Nig. Ltd and Hair Prestige Nig. Ltd, on the premises of the state High Court, Igbosere.
Abiola, who was led in evidence-in-chief by a lawyer of the EFCC, Mr G. A. Lakanmi, told Justice Aishat Opesanwo that he witnessed the entire over six hours drama that ensued between the EFCC operatives and Mr Tarfa, alongside his clients who were billed to be arrested by the EFCC over pending criminal charges.
According to Abiola, the incident happened at the Lagos division of the state High Court, Igbosere, on February 5, moments after the conclusion of a case before Justice Adebiyi, where the suspects appeared.
He said the senior lawyer restrained the commission when the operatives approached the suspects (Nadir Odeste and Gnanhoue) in court, inviting them to the EFCC office.
“After the court proceedings at about 11.00 a.m., the EFCC operatives, led by Mr Moses Awolusi, were at the court’s car park to arrest the suspects (Nadir Odeste and Gnanhoue).
“The operatives approached Mr Tarfa and informed him of the plan to arrest his clients, but Mr Tarfa asked for his identification and warrant, which he produced.
“Mr Tarfa later asked the clients to enter his car and instructed his driver to wind up the glass of the car and keep the engine running.
“Thereafter, he started making calls which I didn’t know anything about, it continued like that until about 5.00 p.m. and Mr Moses Awolusi now placed a call to his office and asked for reinforcement.
“It was about 5.00 p.m. that the fuel in the car was about going down when the defendant (Tarfa) came down and his clients (suspects) came down from the car in order to refuel it.
“At that point, the operatives of the EFCC now arrested the suspects and Mr Rickey Tarfa,” he said.
Earlier, the court had admitted the key and Mercedes car with registration No KJA 700 CG in which Mr Tarfa allegedly hid the suspects as an exhibits.
Admitting the car as an exhibit, Justice Opesanwo said “the car key is before the court as an exhibit, if I have the key, I have the car, but the commission should retain the custody of the car for safekeeping.”
Further hearing in the case was adjourned till January 17.