The Pandora box that Montserrado County Senator Ambraham Darius Dillon opened when he disclosed receipt of US$15,000 for “Legislative Engagements/Projects” to be used for the construction of a public library for the people of Montserrado County keeps refusing to close even after he openly apologized his wrongdoing for receiving the money, while vowing to turn the check over to the Liberia Agency for Community Empowerment (LACE). Now, The Analyst has learned that LACE too has refused to receive the check from Senator Dillon, thereby leaving the lawmaker hanging dry in the face of mounting public condemnations for having received the check in the first place.
In a strongly worded press statement issued Wednesday, June 16, 2021, the LACE says it will not be part of the construction of a public library for Montserrado County after Senator Dillon had conceded to turn over the controversial US$15,000 to the agency, and that it is unable to take receipt of the US$15,000 check upon learning from media reports of the Senator’s intention.
The Agency said it wishes to inform Senator Dillon and apprise the public that the regulations governing its operations and statutes do not allow it to carry out individual projects for legislators outside the structures of an MOU signed between itself and the Legislator and in line with budget appropriations or budget process.
“LACE would carry out such a project as part of the budget and once such appropriation is made to LACE through the budget process. Receipt of individual project monies from legislators would be contrary to governance norms to which LACE subscribes and would be a marked departure from LACE’s best practice,” the nation’s premier community empowerment agency stated.
“We regret to inform the Senator that LACE is unable to take receipt of the US$15,000 check,” the Agency declared.
With the nation’s premier community empowerment agency publicly distancing itself from implementing projects targeted by legislators under the US$15,000 disbursements because doing so contravenes the Liberian budget law, it remains to be seen the next course of action that Senator Dillon and other lawmakers who might harbor similar intentions would take.