The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Monday accused Mr. Rickey Tarfa of falsifying his age, urging Justice Mohammed Idris of a Federal High Court in Lagos not to allow a further and better affidavit filed by the Senior Advocate of Nigeria in support of his N2.5bn suit against the EFCC.
“He who comes to equity must come with clean hands,” lawyer for the EFCC, Mr. Wahab Shittu, said on Monday while moving a counter-affidavit to Tarfa’s application seeking to tender a better and further affidavit to support his case.
An EFCC operative, Moses Awolusi, claimed in a counter-affidavit, that though Tarfa gave his age as 43 in the statement he made to the EFCC on the day of his arrest, findings showed that Tarfa’s real age is 54.
“I know as a fact that the applicant, in his extrajudicial statement to the 1st respondent upon his arrest, falsely stated that his age was 43 years in the document marked Exhibit 1 to the counter-affidavit of the 1st respondent dated 18th February, 2016, whereas the true age of the applicant, as stated in the compendium published for all Senior Advocates of Nigeria referred to, is 54 years old,” Awolusi averred.
But Tarfa’s lawyer, Chief Bolaji Ayorinde (SAN), urged Justice Idris to discountenance the EFCC’s claim, saying that anyone could misrepresent his age under the kind of treatment that the EFCC subjected Tarfa to on February 5.
“In such a situation, I would put my age at 25 because I will be u nder shock,” Ayorinde said.
Ayorinde argued that what the EFCC needed to concentrate on was how it would debunk Tarfa’s claim that an Access Bank account into which his law firm paid N225,000 into on January 7, 2014 belonged to one Mohammed Awal Yunusa and not Justice Mohammed Nasir Yunusa as the EFCC had claimed.
Ayorinde urged the judge to admit Mohammed Awal Yunusa’s further and better affidavit in support of Tarfa’s N2.5bn fundamental rights enforcement suit against the EFCC, saying it was in the interest of justice to do so.
But the EFCC’s lawyer, Shittu, described Tarfa’s application as an abuse of court processes and a ploy to arrest the judgment of the court, which was earlier slated for delivery on Monday.
Shittu, who claimed that Tarfa had already admitted paying N225,000 to the judge and had also lied to the EFCC about his age, said the SAN did not deserve the discretionary favour of the court.
The anti-graft agency had earlier alleged that it traced the payment of N225,000 from Tarfa’s law firm into Justice Yunusa’s Access Bank account, claiming that it was a bribe.
In response to the allegation, Tarfa had, in a further affidavit deposed to by the head of his chambers, John Odubela, denied bribing the judge, stating that the N225,000 he paid into the judge’s bank account was donated by some friends of Justice Yunusa towards the funeral rites of the judge’s father-in-law, Alhaji Audi Damasa.
Odubela had said, “That the applicant and some friends of Honourable Justice M.N. Yunusa made some donations for 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.
“That the contributed monies amounted to N225,000, which was given to the applicant with the responsibility to get same across to the bereaved judge.
“That the applicant consequently made arrangement to forward the sum of N225,000.”
But in the better and further affidavit, which Tarfa sought to tender, Mohammed Awal Yunusa claimed to be the owner of the Access Bank account into which Tarfa’s law firm paid N225,000 into on January 7, 2014, contrary to the EFCC’s claim that the account belonged to Justice Mohammed Nasir Yunusa.