SaharaReporters has obtained phone records belonging to Ricky Tarfa, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, which shows consistent phone calls to one Justice Mohammed Yunusa of the Federal High Court in Lagos. These phone records were obtained by SaharaReporters just as a legal showdown between Mr. Tarfa and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is underway following his arrest by EFCC agents.
The phone records show a series of no less than nine calls between Mr. Yunusa and Mr. Tarfa’s GSM numbers, 08095666256 and 08034600000 respectively. Those numbers, when searched in the True Caller app, clearly show they belong to individuals matching their names.
SaharaReporters previously reported that Mr. Tarfa was arrested by the EFCC for obstruction of justice when he shielded anti-corruption police from arresting his client Granhoue Sourou Nazaire.
Mr. Nazaire had been Mr. Tarfa’s client since around May 2015 when he instituted a legal suit against Mrs. Rachidatou Abdou over ownership and control of a company of which they were both the directors.
However, a letter to the Commissioner of Police authored by Mrs. Abdou on September 7th, 2015 stated that she believed that Mr. Tarfa was colluding with the judge overseeing that case, Justice Mohammed Yunusa.
The letter from Mrs. Abdou states “before and after the filing of the suit the Applicant’s lawyer, Mr. Ricky Tarfa SAN, and the judge, the Honorable Justice Yunusa were communicating with each other on the phone in order to pervert the course of justice.”
The phone records obtained by SaharaReporters shows consistent communication between Mr. Tarfa and Judge Yunusa’s Blackberry phone between May 11th, 2015 and August 3rd, 2015.
A review of the phone records available to our correspondent shows that Mr. Tarfa and Justice Yunusa spoke on three separate instances on May 11th, 2015, or four days before lawsuits were instituted against Mrs. Abdou.
There was also one phone conversation between Mr. Tarfa and Justice Yunusa three days before the May 15th filing of the lawsuit. On May 16th a day after the May 15th filing, there were three separate phone transactions between the two men.
According to the phone records, Mr. Tarfa and Justice Yunusa spoke at least once on June 25th, 2015 more than one month after legal charges were officially instituted on behalf of Mr. Tarfa’s client Mr. Nazaire. This phone transaction was also four days before Mr. Tarfa “made an oral application for an injunction to restrain the EFCC from inviting” his clients to be questioned about fraud allegations against him from Mrs. Abdou.
According to legal statements and media reports oral arguments on the Nazaire-Abdou case began on July 16th of that same year. Despite this, Mr. Tarfa and Justice Yunusa had a phone conversation on August 3rd, 2015 in violation of conduct of legal professionals.
The judge then ruled for Mr. Tarfa’s client on August 18th, following no less than nine separate phone transactions between the two men.
Mrs. Abdou also submitted a complaint to the National Judicial Council (NJC) identifying the corrupt and fraudulent dealing between Mr. Tarfa and Mr. Yunusa on November 11th, 2015. In the complaint, Mrs. Abdou detailed the cases assigned to Mr. Yunusa in the Federal Court and that there were records of phone calls and SMS messages between him and Mr. Tarfa.
In response to her complaint, the Chief Justice of Nigeria Mahmud Mohammed sent a memo to Mr. Yunusa for his misconduct. The memo was sent via the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court of Nigeria, demanding an explanation to Mrs. Abdou’s allegations against him. Mr. Yunusa was given two weeks to respond to the allegations.
SaharaReporters has not ascertained what Mr. Yunusa’s response to the Chief Justice was, however, our correspondent has since learned that Mr. Yunusa was moved from the High Court in Lagos to the Federal High Court in Yobe State.
Meanwhile, Mr. Tarfa has been slammed with two counts of obstruction of justice by the EFCC at a Lagos High Court.