MONROVIA, Montserrado – Newly elected Senator Darius Dillon has been inducted as senator of Montserrado and followed on his promise to declare his assets.
The Code of Conduct for public officials requires government employees involved in making decisions affecting contracting, tendering, or procurement, and issuance of licenses of various types to declare their income, assets, and liabilities prior to taking office. After his induction, Dillon presented a folder to the secretary of the Senate, which he said contained his assets declaration.
“Everything I own is not more than US$75,000. I got nothing to hide,” Dillon said in a speech afterward.
Dillon promised to have his assets declaration published by Monday, August 19, 2019, even though doing so is not mandated by law. He called on colleagues in the legislature and officials of other branches of the government to follow suit.
The new lawmaker said he believes that morality and ethics for leadership must guide officials of government as rational leaders to publish their assets and liability. He also emphasized that he had come to serve his people and has nothing to hide, but to lead with transparency and accountability.
As he has consistently advocated in the past, Dillon also promised to reduce his salary, as one of his first commitments to promises he made during his campaign.
“I will only accept US$ 5,000,” he said, promising that the balance would be placed in an escrow account for the development of Montserrado.
He said as senator, he is ready to serve all Liberians both home and abroad, irrespective of political beliefs and affiliations.
“My victory as senator is not a victory for myself; it’s a victory for all Liberians who showed [a] willingness to raise Liberia again for a better future,” Dillon said.
“This election was not about money, people voted willingly with passion and energy.”
He further described his election as the renewal and restoration of hope that Liberians have long deserved.
The newly inducted senator reaffirmed his commitment during the campaign to fight to defend the constitution as the only organic law of the land, as well as uphold the rights and dignity of all Liberians.
“It is time to give back to the people of Montserrado because you have spoken. I owe you based on my campaign promises. We are committed to those promises, and we will defend our constitution and uphold the laws of our land as senator of Montserrado,” he noted.
Instead of riding in a new vehicle that would cost taxpayers much more, Dillon said the tough economic times call for his office to obtain a used vehicle to do the work of the Liberian people.
“We came to serve our people and serve our people we will. May God bless all of us and save the state,” he ended his induction speech, invoking the Save the State protests that have been at the forefront of the media for the past few months.
Senate Protem Pore Albert Chie, who officially received Dillon on behalf of the Senate, raised some eyebrows when he told Dillon that, while the people of Montserrado elected him as their senator, the power to remove him solely rests with the Senate.
Contrasting with the optimistic rhetoric of Dillon, Chie said the Senate is governed by its standing rules, and senators must abide by it. He emphasized that the Senate is a “political house.”
He also said the body acts independently – not on the basis of party lines, prompting a response shouted from an unknown senator that cast doubt on the supposed independence of the Senate.
“In six months, Sen. Dillon, you will get to know that we do serious business here at the senate. Legislative politics here at the legislature is practical and differs from church book politics,” Chie also said.
Dillon was declared senator of Montserrado after securing a total of 102,549 votes representing 55.74 percent of the total votes in the July 29 by-election.
Featured photo courtesy of Senate Press