Attorney General Clarifies Limits of Transitional Powers Amid Ongoing Activities
Attorney General Ibrahim Riffath has provided clarifications regarding the scope of the transitional phase, stating that an incoming president does not possess the authority to order the outgoing administration to cease or halt specific activities, including developmental projects.
Referring to the Presidential Transition Act, Riffath said it was against the mandate of the Act to halt ongoing projects or request specific actions to cease. He emphasised that the Act was designed to ensure that the outgoing government could conclude its projects and maintain the effective delivery of services to citizens.
He also referred to Article 107(a) of the constitution, noting that a president is elected for a five-year term, which includes the transitional period. All financial transactions must also continue during this time to ensure uninterrupted services to the citizens.
Riffath pointed out that the Act limits the role of transitional committees to functioning within this prescribed mandate. The Act does not permit transitional committees to halt tenders or cease projects. He stressed that, whether during the transition or within a presidential term, no state entity should engage in activities that allow room for corruption.
He also noted that it is merely a moral obligation for the outgoing government to consider requests from the incoming administration, emphasising that such consideration reflects the democratic spirit.
During the 2018 transition period, the Attorney General’s Office had issued guidance to the Ministry of Finance on approving tenders for new projects, taking loans for the state, and conducting actions that might increase the state’s debt burden. Riffath agreed that this guidance still stands and does not need revision.
If the transitional committee oversteps its bounds, particularly by halting services to citizens, Riffath indicated that respective oversight committees in the parliament should take the necessary action.
President-elect Dr. Mohamed Muizzu had earlier sent a letter to President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, asking the government to refrain from certain activities during the transition. The President’s Office stated that while the incumbent government will cooperate with the incoming administration, the state’s functions cannot be halted during this period.
Muizzu’s letter listed several activities he requested to be avoided, such as new investments by state institutions, issuing new permits for development, changes in salary structures, and new recruitments to public offices. Similar directives were sent to State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs).
However, the government has continued its regular functioning, even sending another ambassadorial nomination to parliament despite Muizzu’s request against making such appointments during the transitional phase. This underscores the limitations of the transitional committees’ authority, as explained by Attorney General Riffath.
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