‘You lied about your age’ | ‘I was under shock’ | Between Rickey Tarfa and EFCC

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has urged Justice Mohammed Idris of a Federal High Court in Lagos not to allow Rickey Tarfa, file a new affidavit in support of his N2.5bn suit against the anti-graft agency, due to the falsification of his age.

The commission made this appeal to the court on Monday, while moving a counter-affidavit to Tarfa’s application seeking to tender a better and further affidavit to support his case.

In the better and further affidavit, which Tarfa was seeking 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, and not Justice Mohammed Nasir Yunusa.

In the counter-affidavit, an EFCC operative, Moses Awolusi, stated that Tarfa gave his age as 43 in the statement made available to the commission on the day of his arrest while his actual age is 54.

Awolusi said: “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.”

Hence, the lawyer to the EFCC, Wahab Shittu, while addressing the court, said: “He who comes to equity must come with clean hands.”

Tarfa’s lawyer, Bolaji Ayorinde (SAN), however, urged Justice Idris to disregard the claim made by the EFCC, while inferring that his client misrepresented his age while reeling from the ‘shock’ of the treatment that was meted out to him by the anti-graft agency.

“In such a situation, I would put my age at 25 because I will be under shock,” Ayorinde said.

He further argued that what the EFCC should instead focus its attention on was how it would counter Tarfa’s claim that the contentious Access Bank account into which his law firm paid N225,000, did indeed belong to Mohammed Awal Yunusa and not Justice Mohammed Nasir Yunusa as erroneously claimed.

Consequently, he 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.

But the EFCC’s lawyer, Shittu, described Tarfa’s application as an abuse of court processes while noting that Tarfa had already admitted paying N225,000 to the judge and had also lied to the EFCC about his age, hence, he does not deserve the discretionary favour of the court.

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