An Asaba Chief Magistrate’s Court has sentenced head storekeeper attached to Millennium Development Goals, MDGs, office Asaba and his assistant to 24 years imprisonment for stealing treated mosquito nets.
The nets were procured by the Federal Government for six states in the South-South geo-political zone and kept in the warehouse.
Jailed were Mr. Mike Okonkwo, Head of Store, MDGs office, Asaba and Mrs. Finecountry Tracy, his assistant.
Incidentally, the businessman, who purchased the nets from the storekeepers, Ugwu Joseph, jumped bail during trial and was still at large when the judgment was delivered, Monday.
Delivering judgment, Chief Magistrate S. C. Ehikwe sentenced the storekeeper and his assistant to three years imprisonment with hard labour on each of the four counts for which they were found guilty. Sentences are, however, to run concurrently.
The magistrate also ordered that: “The police is urged to intensify their efforts to get Ugwu Ugochukwu arrested as the bench warrant issued for his arrest and his surety to show cause was extended.
“When arrested, warrant to serve his jail term would be signed in line with the terms of the second and third accused persons. It is further ordered that his surety wherever found should be arrested to face his own charge.”
Counsel to the third accused, Mr. F. N. Monye had pleaded for “utmost leniency,” saying that third accused is a housewife and urged the court to be lenient with her, same for the second accused he claimed that he was a victim of circumstance.
The court, however, noted that: “The issue of mercy and leniency depends on the nature of the case. Those who are privileged to be entrusted with the welfare of the less privileged should regard such a responsibility as a sacred duty bestowed on them by God.”
“Denying the less privileged the benefit of health care which is the only way the government can get to them is not only a sin against humanity but a crime against God. Such people do not deserve mercy. The punishment is to serve as a deterrent to others.”
Prosecution had told the court in one of the charges that; “You Ugwu Ugochukwu (male) Mike Okonkwo (male) and Finecountry Tracy (female) on or about the month of June, 2011 at Millennium Development Goals warehouse located at the back of the Police Headquarters Asaba within the Asaba magisterial district stole 100 balls of treated mosquito nets valued six million naira, two baby weighing scales valued one hundred thousand naira property of Federal Republic of Nigeria under the custody of MDG Delta State and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 390(9) of the Criminal