The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Saturday raided the farm of the suspended Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, making away with sales books, receipt booklets, its members of staff list and other documents.
The Punch reports that about nine EFCC operatives, a cameraman and policemen in a Nissan bus marked Abuja BWR 627AT raided Wanogan Farms Limited located in the Masaka area of Nasarawa State around 3pm and searched the entire premises for over three hours.
A relative of the CJN told our correspondent that the EFCC operatives seized all the phones of the workers to prevent them from taking photographs of the operation.
He said they searched the store houses, water tanks in search of dollars.
The relative said, “We were at the farm on Saturday afternoon when operatives of the EFCC arrived in a white Nissan bus marked Abuja BWR627AT. They forced their way into the premises, harassing everyone.
“No document was presented to the manager under the claims that the EFCC doesn’t need a search warrant. They searched his office and made away with a list of staff members from around February last year.
“The manager was then made to write and sign a document that nowhere was broken into, and nothing was taken. The supervisor was made to countersign. Both were made to do this under duress.
“The cashier was then harassed and made to turn over the sales record and all receipts and invoices in his keeping. He was also made to write an undertaking releasing the sales book to them under duress and made to write his name and designation.”
He said the EFCC men harassed the human resources director over the phone and requested that the company’s invoices be turned over to the EFCC.
The suspended CJN had written a petition to the Inspector-General of Police, alleging that some men posing as herdsmen invaded his farm on February 1, 2019, asking residents if they had witnessed any suspicious activities.
It was learnt that after the petition, security officials who had been carrying out surveillance on the property, decided to formally search the farm.
The relative added, “These people alleged that Onnoghen had 55 houses but when they realised that he had only one house; they decided to start looking for evidence.
“They claimed he had foreign accounts but when it was time to provide evidence to the NJC, they realised that it was only domiciliary accounts he had which is not the same as foreign accounts. Now, they are looking for evidence when the matter is already in court.”
When contacted on the telephone, the EFCC spokesman, Mr Tony Orilade, said he was not aware of the raid on Onnoghen’s farm.
“Sincerely, I am not aware,” Orilade said.
The EFCC, it was learnt, decided to raid Onnoghen’s farm with a view to investigating claims by the embattled CJN that most of the monies that passed through his accounts were from his farm business.
The Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit had sent a report to the EFCC revealing the identities of firms that paid $3m into the bank accounts of Onnoghen.
According to the document, Onnoghen received such huge sums of money despite the fact that his salary and allowances were between N240, 202 and N751, 082.37 from 2005 to 2018.