From Noah Ocheni, Lokoja
The former Kogi state commissioner for Agriculture, Zachaeus Atte has been sentenced to19 years imprisonment for diverting over N19m meant for the raising and distribution of cocoa seedlings and Oil palm sprouted Nuts seedlings in the state.
The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has secured the conviction of Zachaeus Atte, a former Commissioner for Agriculture in Kogi State.
Atte was convicted on corruption charges by a Kogi State High Court sitting in Okene, Kogi State and presided over by Hon. Justice J.J Majebi.
He was found guilty on 7 out of the 11 counts of the charge preferred against him by ICPC.
The former Commissioner who is to serve a total of 19 years jail term, was sentenced to 5 years imprisonment each on counts 1 and 3 without an option of fine, for collecting the sum of =N=11,937,000:00 and =N=8,873,766:85K respectively, being money meant for “the raising and distribution of Oil Palm Sprouted Nuts Seedlings” to cocoa farmers in Kogi State but did not raise nor distribute same.
This is an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000 (ICPC Act).
He was also sentenced on count 2 to five years imprisonment without an option of fine, “for receiving the sum of =N=350,000:00 being amount earmarked to defray the transportation costs of the farmers during the cocoa seedlings distribution exercise” but failed to do so, an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 19 of the ICPC Act.
The former Commissioner was further sentenced to 1 year imprisonment each on counts 8 to 11 for “spending from the sum of =N=2,849,953:75K being amount earmarked for the purchase of office equipment on what he called State wide Sensitization Tour; visit from Lokoja to Lagos on issues of Power Tiller; and Video Coverage” contrary to and punishable under section 22(5) of the ICPC Act.
Delivering his judgment, the trial judge justified the conviction of the defendant by noting that the ICPC Legal team comprising Late Suberu Enebere Esq., Okey Golden Iwuagu Esq., and Peace Arocha Esq. (Mrs.) had proved its case beyond reasonable doubt.