A Lagos State High Court in Igbosere on Friday assumed jurisdiction in the 27-count charge filed against the embattled Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mr. Rickey Tarfa, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Justice A.A. Akintoye dismissed Tarfa’s preliminary objection, filed through his counsel, Mr. Anthony Idigbe (SAN), urging it to quash the charges and decline jurisdiction on the case.
Tarfa was arraigned on March 9 for making false statements, offering gratification to a public officer and failure to declare his assets.
At the resumed hearing on Friday, Justice Akintoye, refused the defendant’s prayers but reserved her decision till the end of the trial on the prayer to declare that falsification of age was not an offence known to law.
The judge said the EFCC had the power to investigate and prosecute Tarfa.
“On the charge being an abuse of court process as argued by the accused, I hold that the information contained in the charge before me is different from the one before my learned brother.
“In that charge what the accused is charged with, is obstructing EFCC officials from effecting their lawful duties.
“I therefore hold that the information in this charge is not an abuse of court process,” she held.
The judge also ruled that the commission had the power to ask the defendant to declare his assets anytime, whether upon arrest or later, so far the offences charged were related to financial crimes.
The offence of gratification of a public officer which the defendant was charged with, falls under the powers of the EFCC, she added.
“It is my opinion that the information disclosed a prima facie case which established that the accused has a case to answer as alleged by the charge.
“The court will not restrain a statutory body from performing its statutory duties in respect of anyone.
“I hold that this court has jurisdiction to entertain this charge, the subject matter is within the jurisdiction of this court.
“I refuse the prayer to quash this charge and I refuse the prayer to restrain the EFCC from investigating or prosecuting the accused,” Akintoye said.