A former Commissioner for Agriculture in Kogi State, Zacchaeus Atte has been sentenced to 19 years in prison for stealing N19 million.
A Divisional High Court in Kogi State presided over by Justice J.J. Majebi handed the jail term to Atte.
The development came after Atte was found guilty on seven out of the 11 counts of the charges levelled against him by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).
In a statement on Friday, the ICPC said the N19 million was meant for “the raising and distribution of Oil Palm Sprouted Nuts Seedlings” to cocoa farmers in Kogi State but that the former commissioner misappropriated the funds.
The statement read in part, “The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has secured the conviction of Zacchaeus Atte, a former Commissioner for Agriculture in Kogi State, North-Central Nigeria.
“Mr 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 convict 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. This is also an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 19 of the ICPC Act.
“The former Commissioner was further sentenced to one-year imprisonment each on counts 8 to 11 for “spending from the sum of =N=2,849,953:75K being the amount earmarked for the purchase of office equipment on what he called Statewide Sensitization Tour; visit to Lagos from Lokoja on issues of Power Tiller; and Video Coverage” contrary to and punishable under section 22(5) of the ICPC Act.”
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