The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Thursday insisted that Mr. Rickey Tarfa SAN falsified his age in an official statement he made at the commission’s Ikoyi, Lagos office last February 5.
Prosecution witness Tosin Owobo testified yesterday before Justice A. A. Akintoye of the Lagos State High Court, Igbosere, that what Tarfa declared on the age declaration form he filled differed from what he declared in other official documents.
Tarfa is standing trial on a 27-count charge bordering on offering of gratification to a public officer, failure to declare assets and making a false statement of age.
According to the charge, the lawyer allegedly made the false statement on February 5, to one of the agency’s senior detectives, Usman Zakari, by claiming that he was 43 years’ old.
Owobo, an EFCC operative, stated during cross examination that while investigating Tarfa, the anti- graft agency requested for information on his account from three banks: Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB), Zenith and Fidelity banks.
He said GTB’s response indicated that Tarfa was born on February 23, 1962, making him 54 years old, which corresponded with the age on his International Passport, but that, according to Tarfa’s statement made before the commission, he was 43.
In furtherance of the commission’s claim that the lawyer offered gratification to a public officer the witness revealed two payment made in Tarfa’s domicilary GTB account.
Owobo said that the defendant paid a cash sum of $10,000 on November 21, 2013 and another cash deposit of $10,000 into the same account last January 29.
Justice Akintoye adjourned the matter till today for continuation of trial.
At the last adjourned date on June 28, Owobo, led in evidence by EFCC counsel, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo, alleged that Tarfa paid money into the bank accounts of two Federal High Court judges.
He said the EFCC wrote letters to Zenith and Fidelity banks requesting information on accounts owned by Tarfa and a firm, Awa Ajia Nigeria Limited.
The responses, Owobo added, indicated that a signatory to the firm’s account was a judge, which the commission later discovered to be Justice Hyeladzira Nganjiwa.
He further alleged that another judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Mohammed Nasir Yunusa, also featured in the statement of account.
The witness gave a breakdown of some transactions in the account which he claimed linked Tarfa and the two judges from the statement of account received.
Owobo testified that several payments made into the account at different times were done by the defendant and they included the following:
On August 6, 2013, a cheque of N500,000 was paid to H. A. Nganjiwa.
On January 29, 2014, the sum of N1.5m was paid to H. A. Nganjiwa
On October 3, 2014, a cheque in the sum of N835,000 was paid to Nganjiwa.
On December 23, 2014, Nganjiwa received N500,000 which was cleared from Rickey Tafar’s account.
On October 27, 2015, a cash deposit of N1.5m was made into the account of H. A. Nganjiwa.
On November 30, 2015, there was a transfer of the sum of N200,000 from Hauwa Nig. Ltd. to Yunusa, while on December 15, 2015, a transaction of the sum of N500,000 was made to Yunusa.
On December 30, 2015, there was also a cash deposit in the sum of N500,000.
On January 8, 2016, a cash deposit of N500,000 was made to Awa Ajia Nig. Ltd.
On February 9, 2016, the sum of N300,000 was transfered from Hauwa Nig. Ltd. to Mohammed Yunusa.