The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has re-arraigned

The anti-graft agency had on March 10, brought Tarfa before an Igbosere High Court, Lagos, on a 27-count of willful obstruction of its authorised officers, refusal to declare assets, making false information and offering gratification to a public official.

At the resumed hearing on Wednesday, November 16, the Commission amended the charge and reduced it to a 26-count of the same offences.

The EFCC also substituted Section 38 (2) on the charge for Section 39(2)  of the EFCC Act, 2004.

However, before his plea was taken, Tarfa’s counsel, Mr Abiodun Owonikoko (SAN), objected to the reading of the amended charge on the ground that it will overreach the decision of the Court of Appeal, Lagos.

Owonikoko argued that the Court of Appeal will on January 19 hear the appeal filed against the ruling of the Lagos High Court.

He submitted that the amended charge raised constitutional issues that an accused person should not be charged twice for the same offence.

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Owonikoko argued that the amended charge was a violation of Section 39 (9) of the constitution which prohibited a prosecutor from arraigning an accused twice for the same offence.

But, in his response, EFCC counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, argued that the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), allows the prosecution to amend a charge at any time before judgment is given.

He urged the court not to allow the defence to delay the trial.

In a bench ruling, Justice A. A. Akintoye dismissed Tarfa’s objection, adding that there is nothing wrong with the amended charge.

She ordered the registrar to read the amended charge to the accused.

Tarfa pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Subsequently, the court adjourned the case till November 28 for the continuation of trial.