Posted by News Express | 7 February 2016 | 3,686 times
Lagos law firm Rickey Tarfa & Co. today disclosed how the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) tricked the President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Augustine Alegeh (SAN), making him to wait in vain for six hours yesterday in a vain bail to bail its Principal Partner and Head of Practice, Rickey Tarfa (SAN).
This was even as the law firm denied the EFCC’s allegation that Tarfa (SAN) was arrested and detained for obstructing the course of justice.
Tarfa was arrested on Friday along with his clients, Ghanhouse Sourous Nazaire and Zenou Modeste, both Beninoise nationals.
The statement by the law firm endorsed by its Partner and Head of Chambers, Mr. John Olusegun Odubela, lamented that the personal intervention of the NBA President, Alegeh in company of more than ten Senior Advocates of Nigeria “to discuss or process the bail” of Tarfa despite “assurance given to him (Alegeh) by EFFC turned out to be a dummy by the highest authority of EFCC about granting bail to Mr. R, Tarfa on the personal surety of NBA President.” The law firm regretted that “the NBA President was kept waiting in the office of EFCC from about 2:00pm till 8:00pm on Saturday, 6th February. when they left the EFCC premises disappointed and humiliated.”
According to the statement titled RICKEY TARFA SAN: EFCC LIED. HE DID NOT OBSTRUCT THE COURSE OF JUSTICE, Tarfa “was at no point in any position to obstruct the course of justice, among the EFCC operatives. It is germane to state that the matter before the court has no bearing with CORRUPTION related issue. It is purely between a husband and wife struggling for a control of a manufacturing company they jointly promoted. It is purely a matrimonial issue that went sour.”
The statement added: “For the avoidance of doubt, we need to put it in the public domain that contrary to the blatant lies dished out by the EFCC, Mr. R. Tarfa (SAN) was at the Lagos High Court in continuation of his professional duty to defend his clients, Ghanhoue Sourous Nazaire and Zenou Modeste. .... It is pertinent that, up till the time of the Gestapo-like tactics deployed by the EFCC, on Friday, our clients had been enjoying Court bail and EFCC bail, hence the issue of jumping bail was out of the question. It thus borders on extreme mischief to insinuate that issue of jumping bail, or resisting lawful arrest was at the heart of shame enacted by EFCC operatives at Lagos High Court premises on Friday, 5th of February, 2016.”
Rickey Tarfa & Co. further said that, despite the fear expressed by Tarfa during the proceedings before the court that the EFCC had been harassing his clients, “while in the court room and whisked them away. At the same time Mr. R. Tarfa (SAN) was arrested along with them and forced to drive in their convoy to the EFCC under armed escort.”
While decrying this arrest, the law firm noted: “This is not how to fight corruption. The Federal Government needs to be pitied because the crusade against the scourge of corruption is gradually being derailed, by the 5th Columnists bent on setting the legal profession on a needless course with the Government in its legitimate and publicly acclaimed drive to address the scourge of corruption bedeviling our country at present.
“We decry this act of arresting a legal practitioner in the course of his professional duties in the premises of the High Court and urge the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), human rights groups and all Nigerians to join in condemning this resort to Gestapo-like breach of counsel’s professional privilege and rights to protection in court premises while discharging their duty as counsel.”
Rickey Tarfa & Co. concluded by appreciating “the goodwill, support from lovers of human rights through calls, text messages and personal visits since this ugly incident happened and pledge that the 28-year-old firm of Rickey Tarfa &Co. will continue to practise its trade in the best traditions of the bar.”
•Photo shows NBA President, Augustine Alegeh (SAN).
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