-To be represent by 38 SANs
Rickey Tarfa (SAN), the Head of Practice of Massrs Rickey Tarfa and Co is definitely not taking things lying low with the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for what he called his unlawful arrest, detention and seizure of his phones and Mercedes Benz SUV on Friday, February 5, 2016.
Rickey Tarfa is therefore asking the court to order EFCC to pay him N2.5 billion as damages for all these unlawful actions.
He filed the case in the Federal High Court, Lagos in Suit No: FHC/L/CS/172/16. Mr. Tarfa in his originating motion on notice asked the court to declare his arrest, detention, seizing of his two mobile phones and Mercedes Benz SUV with registration number, KJA 700 CG, unlawful, illegal, wrongful and gross violation of his fundamental human rights as enshrined in the constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 and the African Chapter on Human and People’s Rights.
He, therefore, asked the court to order EFCC to
- Release his two mobile phones unlawfully seized
- To release to the court and submit for destruction all information, data and other retrievable materials stored or otherwise contained in the said two mobile phones
- To release his Mercedes Benz SUV with registration number, KKA 700 CG.
- To publicly apologize to him in at least two widely circulated national newspapers, social media and NTA as well as Channels Television.
- To pay the sum of N2.5 billion being general exemplary and aggravated damages for the acts of violation of his right.
Rickey Tarfa’s case will be handled by 53 Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs) amongst whom are Chief Wole Olanipekun, Prince Lateef O. Fagbomi, Mallam Yusuf Ali, Anthony Idigbe, Chief Adeniji Akintola, Nnaemeka Ngige, Adetunji Oyeyipo, Oluyele Delano, Babajide Koku, Babatunde Fagbonhulu and Dr. Joseph Nwobike,
Others are Chief Mike Ozekhome, Toyin Pinheiro, Olanrewaju Ogunlesi, Abiodun J. Owonikoko, Hassan M. Liman, Yakubu C. Maikyau,Jibrin Okulepa, Aliyu Umar, Oluseye S. Opasanya, Ahmed Raji, etc.
Rickey Tarfa’s travail with the EFCC started on Friday, February 5, 2016, when he was at the Lagos High Court, Igbosere, Lagos to defend his clients, Nazaire Gnanhoue and Modeste, the two Beninese who were defendants/accused in a case over the ownership of a company, Rana Prestige Industries Nigeria.
Nazaire Gnanhoue is the Managing Director of Rana Prestige Industries Nigeria, while Modeste Finagnon is the General Manager until there was conflict between Nazaire and his wife, Abdou which led to them living apart. It is the estranged wife that has now taken the husband, Nazaire and company’s general manager to court on the allegation of forgery.
The wife, whose counsel is Mr. Femi Falana (SAN) alleged that her estranged husband and the general manager forged her signature on the equity holding of the company from 50:50 to 40:60. That her equity holding in the company has been altered.
It was based on these petition by the estranged wife to EFCC that the husband and general manager were arrested.
But Rickey Tarfa (SAN) the counsel to Nazaire (the estranged husband) and the general manager, secured their bail both from the EFCC and the court. It was in connection with the case (the ownership of the company, Rana Prestige Industries Nigeria) that the two (the estranged husband and the company’s general manager) came to Lagos High Court, Igbosere, Lagos on Friday, February 5, 2016. But the court could not sit that day.
They were about to leave the court when they noticed that the EFCC operatives were around. Sensing that they were around to arrest them again, they went back inside the court to inform their counsel Rickey Tarfa.
Rickey Tarfa, we gathered, instructed them to go inside in his Mercedes Benz SUV while he engaged the EFCC operatives in conversation. He (Tarfa) was said to have asked the EFCC operatives their warrant of arrest which they could not produce. The argument between the EFCC operatives and Tarfa dragged on till 4pm when the EFCC called for reinforcement from their office and arrested Rickey Tarfa and his two clients.
Rickey Tarfa was first detained at the Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, Lagos office of the EFCC before he was moved to Okotie-Eboh Street, Ikoyi, Lagos. All entreaties by senior members of the bar, including the President of Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Augustine Alegeh (SAN) and many other Senor Advocates of Nigeria to EFCC operatives fell on dead hears.
Rickey Tarfa was not released until Sunday, February 7, 2016 around 6:10pm but without his Mercedes Benz SUV and his two mobile phones.
Meanwhile, the EFCC has also constituted a charge against Rickey Tarfa on what they called willful obstruction of justice.
The EFCC in a charge no: LD/2417e/16 filed in the High Court of Lagos state, in the Lagos Judicial Division alleged that Rickey Tarfa, willfully obstructed Moses Awolusi and Sanusi Mohammed authorized officers of the EFCC from arresting Nazaira Sourou Gnanhoue and Modeste on Friday, February 5, 2016.