The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission told the Lagos State High Court in Ikeja on Thursday that Justice Mohammed Yunusa confirmed receiving N1.5m from embattled Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr. Rickey Tarfa.
The EFCC claimed that Justice Yunusa did not deny collecting money from Tarfa, when the judge honoured an invitation by the anti-graft agency last year.
An investigator with the EFCC, Mr. Danladi Daniel, stated this on Thursday when he appeared as a prosecution witness before Justice Aishat Opesanwo of the Lagos State High Court in Ikeja, where Tarfa is being tried for alleged perversion and obstruction of justice.
The EFCC had on February 16, 2016 arraigned Tarfa on two counts before Justice Opesanwo, alleging that the SAN hid two suspects of financial crimes in his sports utility vehicle on the premises of the Lagos State High Court in Igbosere in order to prevent the operatives of the EFCC from arresting them.
In the charges, the EFCC further claimed that while allegedly hiding the suspects – Gnahouse Nazaire and Senoue Modeste – in his SUV, Tarfa made a phone call to Justice Yunusa of the Federal High Court to pervert the course of justice.
But Tarfa pleaded not guilty to the charges.
At the resumed trial in the case on Thursday, Daniel, who was led in evidence by the prosecutor, Mr. G.K. Latona, claimed to have analysed the calls made by Tarfa with his two mobile phones.
Tarfa’s two mobile phones, which were seized by the EFCC on February 5, 2016, were tendered in evidence against the SAN and marked as exhibits P7 and P8 by Justice Opesanwo on Thursday.
Daniel said his analysis of the call log on the phones showed that Tarfa was in the habit of communicating with the judge even when the SAN had cases before the judge.
The EFCC on Thursday tendered the certified true copies of two separate judgments delivered by Justice Yunusa on September 8, 2015 and September 15, 2015.
Justice Opesanwo admitted the judgments and marked them as Exhibits P5 and P6 respectively.
The witness said, “On February 5, 2016, two phones – a Samsung Galaxy phone and an IPhone – belonging to Tarfa were given to me by the commission to analyse.
“I gave the defendant two telephone forensic forms to fill which he did and appended his signature in my presence.”
The witness added, “Part of the result of the analysis showed that the defendant was in the habit of making his cases go before Justice Yunusa.
“Results confirmed that there were communications between the defendant, his colleagues in the office and staff of the court.
“When cases were pending before Justice Yinusa, particularly in the month of May 2015, a member of staff from the defendant’s office, named Esther, made a cash deposit of N1.5m into Yunusa’s account.”
Daniel told the court that when Justice Yunusa was invited by the EFCC for questioning over the alleged communication with Tarfa, the judge did not deny receiving money from the SAN.
The witness said, “Justice Yunusa was invited by the investigators sometime in 2016; he honoured the invitation and was interviewed on the reason for the payment of the N1.5m into his account.
“The judge confirmed that some money was paid into his account but he could not remember when it was paid.
“He went further to put his statement into writing.”