The absence of the prosecuting lawyer for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Tuesday stalled further hearing in the criminal trial of Mr. Rickey Tarfa SAN for alleged age falsification and offering of gratification to a public officer.
The adjournment was at the instance of prosecution counsel Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo, who wrote a letter to the court proposing the continuation of the trial on three dates – one in March and two in April – one of which falls on a public holiday and the other a Saturday.
Tarfa is standing trial on a 27-count charge pressed against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
At the resumption of proceedings, Justice Adedayo Akintoye informed defence counsel Ade Adedeji (SAN) that Oyedepo, who was absent, had written to the court to seek an adjournment of trial.
Oyedepo’s letter, which was shown to Adedeji, informed the court that he had received a hearing notice from the Court of Appeal, Lagos summoning him to appear in a matter scheduled for Tuesday morning.
He suggested that the previously scheduled dates, including today be vacated and that the trial be shifted to March 30, April 14 and 15.
Adedeji, who expressed surprise at the dates, observed that April 14 was Good Friday – a national public holiday – and that April 15 was Saturday, a weekend.
“Two of the suggested dates fall on a public holiday and a weekend,” he said.
He proposed a date in May and Justice Akintoye adjourned the case till May 16, 17 and 18 for continuation of trial.
The EFCC arraigned Tarfa on March 10, 2016, on a 27-count charge which was subsequently amended to 26 counts bordering on alleged willful obstruction of its authorised officers, refusal to declare assets and giving false information to a public officer.
The agency also alleged, among others, that the lawyer offered N5.3million gratification to Justice Hyeladzira Nganjiwa of the Federal High Court, Lagos in order to compromise the judge.
The commission claimed that Tarfa transferred the money in several tranches to Justice Nganjiwa between June 27, 2012 and December 23, 2014.
He pleaded not guilty to the charge.