Ebonyi adopts plea bargain for funds recovery
However, Umahi, who spoke with the media in Lagos on Sunday, vowed to recover all stolen funds but “will not write to any of financial crimes commission. Instead, he will use negotiations and plea bargain to recover the funds.
Noting that probing his predecessor also means probing himself since he was part of the government, Umahi said: “I don’t know what is called probe. Don’t forget I was party chairman, deputy governor. If righting the wrongs means probing, then even in your family you should probe also.”
He added: “I won’t write petitions to the EFCC or ICPC and will not support that. But if anybody embezzles the state’s money and returns it in form of dialogue, there is no reason to take anybody to court.
“We need so much money in Ebonyi State. If one or two persons are having it, we will call them for a talk. Of course you hear the story of land for peace in Israel and Palestine, and here the EFCC, ICPC plea bargain. This is the kind of thing I love for Ebonyi State and I am going to deploy that.”
Umahi further denied any rift with the former governor, Martin Elechi, at any point. Acknowledging, though, some disagreements, he said he sees Elechi as his boss, accords him due respect, and would continue with the projects he started.
“My relationship with my predecessor is that of father and son”, he said. “But you know father and son disagree and of course it is very natural. I must continue with the right things my father did – all his projects. One significant thing is that in leadership, people do a lot of things without the leader’s knowledge, and those cheating on the leader will be the first to gossip and tell you all kinds of things to cover their track.
“There are a couple of projects overvalued by over 300 per cent, which I’m sure the former governor was not aware of. The good thing is that once a project is started, I am going to complete it. The bad side is that I will revalue any overvalued project, and if that will constitute misunderstanding between us, so be it.”
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