The embattled Rickey Tarfa (SAN) has denied the allegation that he bribed Justice Mohammed Yunusa over a case bordering on obstruction of justice before the judge.
The Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had alleged that Tarfa had telephone conversations with the judge over the case. The agency provided phone numbers of the accused, the judge, and bank documents with details of the N225,000 transfer from the lawyer to Justice Yunusa.
In an affidavit filed before a Federal High Court in Lagos on Friday, February 19, Tarfa said the money was a donation to the judge following the loss and burial of his father-in-law.
It reads: “The applicant (Mr. Tarfa) did not on 7th January, 2014 bribe Honourable Justice M.N. Yunusa with the sum of N225,000 or any other sum at all,” the lawyer stated in the affidavit deposed to by John Odubela, the head of his chambers.
“It was common knowledge in the legal circles that Honourable Justice M.N. Yunusa lost his father-in-law, Alhaji Audi Garba Damasa on the 28th December, 2013 in Maiduguri and travelled there to attend to the funeral rites.
“The applicant and some friends of Honourable Justice M.N. Yunusa made some donations towards the said funeral rites and to commiserate with the judge since they could not physically go and commiserate with him in Maiduguri, where he was and stayed for a while.
“The contributed monies amounted to N225,000, which sum was given to the applicant with the responsibility to get same across to the bereaved judge.
“The applicant consequently made arrangements to forward the sum N225,000.
“I know as a fact that it is common in Nigeria for friends and well-wishers to contribute gifts in cash and kind to people who are celebrating or bereaved.”
The EFCC had on Tuesday, February 16, arraigned Tarfa before a Lagos High Court, for allegedly obstructing two of its officers from arresting Gnanhooue Sourou and Nazaire Odeste, the owners of Rana Prestige Industries.
In a counter-suit, Tarfa filed a N2.5 billion fundamental rights action enforcement against the EFCC in protest of his arrest and detention.
He also sought the court for a public apology from the EFCC, for his alleged arrest and detention.