Kogi State High Court Friday sentenced Zacchaeus Atte, a former Commissioner for Agriculture in Kogi State, to 19 years imprisonment.
The court sitting in Okene, Kogi State capital and presided over by Hon. Justice J.J Majebi found the ex-commissioner guilty on 7 out of the 11 counts of the corruption charge preferred against him by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (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 N11.93m and N8.87m 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 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 former Commissioner was further sentenced to 1-year imprisonment each on counts 8 to 11 for “spending from the sum of N2.84m being amount earmarked for the purchase of office equipment on what he called State-wide Sensitisation 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.
Justifying the conviction of Atte, Justice Majebi held that the ICPC counsel was able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the convict committed the crime.