Olufemi Atoyebi, Abuja
A former Commissioner for Agriculture in Kogi State, Mr Zachaeus Atte, has been sent to correctional centre for 19 years over fraud.
A statement from the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, which was signed by its spokesperson, Rasheedat Okoduwa, said the commission secured the verdict at the Kogi State High Court sitting in Okene, Kogi State after Atte was convicted on corruption charges.
The statement read, “The convict, who is to serve a total of 19 years jail term, was sentenced to five years imprisonment each on counts one and three without an option of fine, for collecting the sum of N11,937,000 and N8,873,766 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 two to five years imprisonment without an option of fine for receiving the sum of N350,000, 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 commission added that the former commissioner was also sentenced by the trial judge, Justice J.J Majebi, to one-year imprisonment each on counts eight to 11 for spending from the sum of N2,849,953, being amount earmarked for the purchase of office equipment, adding that the offence was contrary to and punishable under section 22(5) of the ICPC Act.
“While reading his judgment, the trial judge justified the conviction of the defendant by noting that the ICPC legal team comprising the late Suberu Enebere, Okey Iwuagu, and Peace Arocha had proved its case beyond reasonable doubt,” the commission noted.