The trial of a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Rickey Tarfa, for alleged perversion of the course of justice before an Igbosere High Court was on Tuesday stalled due to his ill health.
Tarfa is standing trial on a 26-count charge bordering on offering monetary gratification to two judges of the Federal High Court, Justices Hyeladzira Nganjiwa and Mohammed Yunusa before Justify Adedayo Akintoye.
During resumed proceeding on Tuesday, Tarfa’s counsel, Mr Jelili Owonikoko (SAN), told the court that the defendant was in the court’s premises but could not enter the courtroom due to the severity of his illness.
Owonikoko told the court that they had filed a medical recommendation notifying the court for medical leave to be given to the defendant for a period of three months to enable him recuperate.
He said that the defendant was in a vehicle inside the court premises.
At this stage, the prosecuting counsel of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Usman Buhari, and the court’s registrar all went out to the vehicle to see the defendant.
When they came back, the EFCC prosecutor, Buhari who stood in for Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, told the court that they saw the defendant in the vehicle.
He also said that the medical report was served on them.
Buhari said he had no objection for the request of the defendant for time to recuperate.
The trial judge, Justice Akintoye, advised that the defendant must not travel outside the country without court’s knowledge.
She adjourned the case until May 8 and 9 for continuation of trial.
It would be recalled that on the last adjourned date, March 11, the case did not go on because the judge went for official duty.
Tarfa’s trial was also stalled on January 21due to his absence in court.
Tarfa’s counsel, Owonikoko (SAN), had told the court that his client traveled outside the country for medical treatment.
He said the condition of his client was so bad that he had made to travel for surgical operations.
The EFCC counsel confirmed to the court that he received the medical report and a letter from the defendant requesting for vacation of trial date to further date.
He, however, said that the defendant should have come to court to apply for leave to travel before embarking on such a trip.
EFCC had in the charge claimed that between June 27, 2012 and January 8, 2016, Tarfa paid a total of N5.3 million in several tranches into Justice Nganjiwa’s account.
He was also accused of paying into Justice Yunusa’s account, a total of N800,000 in three tranches between Feb. 9 and November 30, 2015.
The SAN was equally accused of age falsification.
Upon his arraignment on March 9, 2016 and subsequent re-arraignment on November 16, 2016, Tarfa pleaded not guilty to the charge and was granted bail on self-recognizance.
The EFCC had since closed its case.
Tarfa, also opened his defence after the court dismissed the no-case submission he filed.
Tarfa’s first witness, Deputy Chief Registrar (DCR) of the Federal High Court in Lagos, Mr Bello Okandeji, was yet to finish his cross-examination.