Judges linked to Rickey Tarfa bribery scandal questioned by EFCC

Rickey Tarfa
Rickey Tarfa

Two judges who allegedly received payments from Rickey Tarfa, a lawyer facing trial for bribery, have reported to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission’s office to write statements on the findings against them.

Mohammed Yunusa and Nganjiwa Hyledzira arrived the Commission’s Lagos office on Monday morning, a source at the EFCC told PREMIUM TIMES.

Another judge, Musa Kurya reported to the anti-graft’s office at about 10 a.m. on Tuesday.

The judges’ visits were sequel to a letter of invitation extended to them by the EFCC.

Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia, another judge who was recently sanctioned by the National Judicial Commission, however, failed to honour the invitation.

In March, the NJC barred Mrs. Ofili-Ajumogobia from further elevation on the bench till retirement after she was found to have failed to deliver judgment in a pre-election matter that began in 2011. One week later, she was transferred to the Ilorin Division of the Federal High Court.

Last June, Tosin Owobo, an EFCC operative told Justice A.A Akintoye of the Lagos Island Division of the Federal High Court how Mr. Tarfa, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, paid money running into millions of naira into the bank accounts of Judges Yunusa and Hyledzira.

According to Mr. Owobo, information obtained upon request from both Fidelity and Zenith bank accounts of Mr. Tarfa, Justice Yunusa, and Awa Ajia Nigeria Limited (allegedly belonging to Justice Nganjiwa) showed movement of funds from the lawyer to the judges.

For instance, Mr. Tarfa paid a cheque of N500,000 into Mr. Nganjiwa’s account on August 6, 2013, according to the EFCC witness.

On January 29, 2014, N1.5 million was paid into the judge’s account.

Other payments include N835,000 on October 3, 2014; N500,000 on December 23, 2014; N1.5 million on October 27, 2015; N500,000 on December 30, 2015; N500,000 on January 8, 2016; and another N1.5 million.

For Justice Yunusa, Mr. Owobo said he received N200,000 from Hauwa Nigeria Limited on November 30, 2015; and another N500,000 on December 15, 2015; N300,000 on February 9, 2016.

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