Justice Aishat Opesanwo on Tuesday dismissed the preliminary objections filed by Mr Rickey Tarfa (SAN), to the two-count charge of obstruction of justice and attempting to pervert the course of justice by bribing a judge.
The court, which resolved all the issues raised by the Senior Advocate against him, held that his application seeking to quash the charges lacked merit.
This is coming barely five days after one court asked him to defend the charges made against him by the Economic & Financial Crimes Commission, a second court where he is facing charges has reached a similar verdict.
Last week Friday, Justice Adedayo Akintoye of the Lagos State High Court sitting in the Igbosere area of Lagos Island dismissed the objections of Mr Tarfa to a 27-count charge filed against him by the EFCC.
The court assumed jurisdiction to hear the case and asked Mr Tarfa to defend the allegations of willful obstruction of justice, refusal to declare his assets, making false information and offering gratification to a public officer.
Like Justice Akintoye, Justice Opesanwo before whom he is facing a two-count charge has also dismissed his preliminary objections.
Mr Tarfa had argued that the charges bordering on obstruction of justice and attempting to pervert the cause of justice amounted to an abuse of court process.
He urged the court to quash the charges or dismiss them.
Justice Aishat Opesanwo has however held that his objections lack merit.
In a ruling that lasted for an hour and a half, Justice Opesanwo held that Mr Tarfa’s argument that the EFCC was both the accuser, investigator and the judge in the case could not be substantiated.
The court held that the issue of a lack of fair hearing as canvassed by the Senior Advocate simply did not arise as the proceedings before the court had given him an opportunity to explain his actions.
On whether the case against Mr Tarfa constituted economic & financial crimes as to fall within the jurisdiction of the anti-graft agency, the court agreed with the EFCC that Section 7 clothes the commission with the responsibility of dealing also with any form of corrupt practices.
Justice Opesanwo held that the allegation of communicating with a judge is suggestive that Mr Tarfa was trying to gain an unfair advantage, one which falls within the categorization of corrupt malpractice and he clearly had to explain the legitimacy of his actions.
The Judge also upheld the powers of the EFCC to institute an action on behalf of the government, whether federal or state.
With this ruling out of the way, the stage is now set for the trial of Mr Tarfa.
Justice Opesanwo has fixed the June 22 and 23 for commencement of trial.