A Lagos High Court sitting at Igbosere, presided over by Justice Adedayo Akintoye, dismissed the no-case submission initiated by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, Rickey Tarfa on Friday.
The court equally declined to award the N520m damages prayed for by the SAN against the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), for “malicious prosecution”.
It would be recalled that the anti-graft agency had instituted a 26-counts charge that has to do with bribery and attempt to pervert the course of justice.
But after the EFCC closed its case against Tarfa, the SAN through his lawyer, Jelili Owonikoko, filed a no-case submission on the grounds that after reviewing the case of the prosecution, he came to the conclusion that he had no case to answer.
In her ruling, Justice Akintoye held that the prosecution had established the essential elements of the offenses which the defendant was charged with.
According to the judge, "What is expected of this court at this stage of no-case submission is to look at the evidence adduced so far and determine whether a prima facie case has been disclosed against the defendant."
“At this stage also, the prosecution is not required to have established its case beyond reasonable doubts against the defendant, as the guilt of the defendant is not an issue now."
“I have carefully evaluated the evidence so far with the totality of evidence adduced before this honorable court; it is my opinion that the prosecution has established the essential elements of the alleged offenses with which the defendant is charged."
“The evidence of the prosecution witnesses has not been discredited by the cross-examination of the defense counsel to the extent that no reasonable tribunal will simply convict, based on it."
“I, therefore, hold that a prima facie case of failing and refusing to declare his assets, making false information to an officer of the EFCC and offering gratification to a public official as stated in the amended information filed before this court has been made against the defendant."
“Therefore, the defendant is called upon to enter his defense and the no-case submission filed on his behalf is hereby dismissed."
“With regard to the defendant’s applicant claim for exemplary damages for malicious prosecution against the EFCC, I find no merit in this claim of N520m damages and same is refused.”
The matter has been adjourned until March 13, 2018, for the defense to open its case.
Tarfa has been standing trial since March 2016, and on October 23, 2017, the EFCC closed its case.