The State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) Committee of the Parliament has initiated an inquiry following complaints that directives from the office of President-elect Dr Mohamed Muizzu are hindering the operations of state-owned enterprises during the transitional period. 

The SOE Committee summoned the heads of the Privatisation and Corporatisation Board (PCB), the overseeing body of SOEs, for a detailed discussion. Committee Chairman and MDP MP Ahmed Esa elucidated the reasons behind this move, stating that companies have been advised to refrain from certain activities during the transitional phase, causing confusion and reluctance among middle management.

The inquiry aims to “clarify in what legal capacity” the President-elect’s office issued these directives and to examine how these are impacting the functioning of SOEs.

On Monday, Muizzu’s office released a list of ten activities that SOEs should refrain from. These activities include making new investments, starting new projects, amending bylaws, and altering employment structures. Muizzu has, however, explicitly stated that he has not ordered a halt to any ongoing projects. He went so far as to label allegations suggesting otherwise as “baseless.”

On Tuesday, the Attorney General Riffath weighed in on the legal mandate of the Transition of Government Act, stating that an incoming president does not have the legal authority to order an outgoing administration to halt ongoing projects or activities. 

According to Riffath, the Transition of Government Act was designed to ensure a smooth transition amid the outgoing government maintaining service delivery and concluding existing projects. He said during transitional periods, it is merely a moral obligation for the outgoing government to consider the directives of the incoming administration.

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih had earlier received a letter from Muizzu asking the government to refrain from certain activities, such as new projects and new recruitments. President Solih responded affirmatively, stating that he would honour Muizzu’s requests. However, the government has since continued its normal functioning, even sending new ambassadorial nominations to parliament.