Court Remands Former Kogi Commissioner Over Alleged N35.5m Fraud

Court Remands Former Kogi Commissioner Over Alleged N35.5m Fraud
  • PublishedJune 14, 2017

A Kogi High Court sitting in Okene has remanded a former Commissioner of Agriculture in the state, Zacchaeus Atte, in prison custody over alleged financial impropriety of N35.5 million.

Atte was arraigned by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) on an eight-count charge.

The Judge, Justice Josiah Majebi, who gave the order, held that the bail application for the accused was not ripe for hearing.

Earlier, the Prosecution led by John Okwor told the court that the alleged offence was contrary to Section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.

The charges against the accused, according to the prosecuting counsel, including using his office as commissioner for agriculture to convert the sum of N11.9 million to personal use.

Okwor said the accused perpetrated the act under the pretext of purchasing and distributing 200,000 sprouted oil palm seedlings to the state oil palm farmers in February 2015.

He also accused the former commissioner of cornering the sum of N350, 000 on the pretext of distributing 100,000 cocoa seedlings to cocoa farmers in the state in August 2015.

The accused, the counsel said, also converted N8.87 million under the pretext of purchasing oil palm sprouted seedlings in May 2015.

He further accused Atte of corruptly enriching himself in January 2015 with the sum of N2.84 million under the pretext of purchasing two units of photocopiers.

Other offences, according to Okwor, is that Atte used his office as commissioner to syphon various amounts of public funds meant for projects for which he got approvals but decided to pocket the monies released.

When the offences were read to him, the former commissioner pleaded not guilty.

The ICPC counsel told the court that he was ready for the commencement of the trial and asked for a date for him to present witnesses.

Adebayo Eniwaye, counsel to the accused, made an oral application for the bail of his client, which was not opposed by the prosecution counsel.

Justice Medubi, however, in his ruling, observed that the motion was not ripe for hearing.

Majebi ordered that the former commissioner is remanded at the Medium Security Prisons, Okene, and adjourned the case until June 20 for hearing.

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