Remember Zacchaeus in the Bible, he was this man who took public funds for himself, the Bible account says that he had the opportunity of making restitution, paying back those he had swindled four-fold, but our Zacchaeus Atte from Kogi State has not been so lucky, for his own form of restitution, he is to serve a 19-year jail term.
Before the proverbial “shit hit the fan” for Zacchaeus Atte, he was a former Commissioner for Agriculture in Kogi State, Zacchaeus Atte was fingered for embezzling public funds while he was a commissioner in the state.
According to Rasheedat Okoduwa, the spokesperson for ICPC, ex-commissioner Atte was sentenced on Friday to serve 19 years in jail for corruptly enriching himself with public funds, in the revelation made public by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Crime (ICPC) on the antigraft’s Twitter page, Atte’s conviction was due to a case brought against him by ICPC which was held at a Kogi State High Court, Justice J. J. Majebi presided over the sitting which was in Okene, Kogi State. He was tried on corruption charges.
The former commissioner was found guilty on 7 out of the 11 counts charges brought against him by ICPC, on count 1 and 3, Atte was sentenced to 5 years imprisonment each, without an option of fine, in total he is to serve 19 years in Nigerian prison. While serving as the commissioner for Agriculture, Atte was said to have set aside funds the Kogi State government earmarked for “the raising and distribution of Oil Palm Sprouted Nuts Seedlings”, this fund was meant to assist cocoa farmers in Kogi State to diversify into oil palm production, as such the collected N11,937,000 and N8,873,766 did not reach the farmers and for this reason, the oil palm seedling distribution project was not executed.
The ICPC spokesperson said that the offense was 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 offense 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 N2,849,953 being 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.”