Senate Pro – Tempore Albet Chie has threatened newly inducted Montserrado County Sen. Abraham Darius Dillon with expulsion from the Liberian Senate if the latter does not follow the Senate’s rules, minutes after Mr. Dillon declared his assets and challenged other senators and public officials to follow his example.
Liberia’s Code of Conduct for public officials require declaration of assets and liabilities prior to taking office and thereafter, do the same at the end of every three years, among others.
But officials here appear to defy public pressure to respect the law and declare their assets in support of the fight against corruption and to reduce public perception of public officials’ lack of transparency.
Minutes after Mr. Dillon declared his assets and challenged his colleagues to declare theirs, Sen. Chie warns that while the people of Montserrado County elected Mr. Dillon, the power to remove him from the Senate is not with the people, but the Senators alone have that power.
He tells Dillon that legislative politics is practical and different from textbook politics.Chie adds that at the Liberian Senate, senators act beyond party line, nothing that they are independent and no party controls them.
Meanwhile, Mr. Dillon, the Senator for Liberia’s four collaborating opposition political parties announces at his induction Thursday, 15 August that he will only accept a salary of US$5,000.00, instructing that any amount above this should be deposited into an escrow account for social development purposes.
“I Senator for Montserrado will only accept a salary of US$ 5,000. Any amount over this will be deposited in an escrow account to go towards social development program of the County, “ Sen. Dillon says.
Mr. Dillon was officially sworn into office Thursday in the chambers of the Liberian senate.Dillon indicates that while the law that requires assets declaration does not call for publishing of the assets, he wants public officials to follow his example and declare and publish their assets on grounds of morals and ethics.
Upon declaring his assets, Mr. Dillon announces that they will be published as well.During the ceremony, he said his election is a victory to the people of Montserrado County for the betterment of the country and willingness to work together.
According to Mr. Dillon, the people of Montserrado did something amazing by voting him, saying the election was not about him giving money to the people but rather an election filled with energy and passion.
Further, Sen. Dillon indicates that the election was about the renewal of hope and faith.He sees the Montserrado by- election as a process where Liberians turned out to vote not because they were given any monetary incentive, but because they believe that they deserve a better country.
The opposition lawmaker explains that the people chose leadership that represents their needs and decided to move positively.He notes that the people of Montserrado chose him as a vessel of hopes and dreams, thanking them for choosing him in the just – ended race.
“I want to pledge to the Liberian people and Montserrado County respectively, I will never take from you what doesn’t belong to me because my mama put that discipline in me,” Dillon vows.He promises to defend and uphold the voices of the people of Montserrado which have given birth to the beginning of a new era.
Mr. Dillon further promises to work with diaspora committee because they have a lot of work to do together.He concludes that the time has come to show his commitment, work for the Liberian people and deliver results.By Ethel A. Tweh–Edited by Winston W. Parley