The Local Government Authority (LGA) will not take any action against the Kendhikulhudhoo Council for refusing to withdraw its statement surrounding President Mohamed Muizzu’s visit to the island in Noonu (N) Atoll, LGA’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mariyam Zulfa has said.

The LGA gave the council until 2 p.m. on Monday to retract its statement stating that President Mohamed Muizzu had abused state resources by participating in what they perceived as party-political campaigning under the guise of an official visit.

However, members of the council decided not to revoke the statement, saying that the LGA had failed to provide a clear legal basis for why such an action was required.

“The LGA did not provide a clear legal requirement, and as such, we decided not to cancel the statement,” council President Mohamed Rauf had said.

When asked about possible consequences to the council’s refusal to withdraw the statement, Zulfa told local media that no action would be taken against the council as long as they were within their mandate.

The LGA will work to ensure that the councils are operating in accordance with the law and strengthen the operation of the councils, she said.

“We will not do anything about the statement. The problem is that the statement issued was beyond their purview. If they issue such a statement again, we will look into it further,” Zulfa said.

The council, in its refusal to withdraw, went on to caution the LGA against actions that, in its view, would undermine the Decentralisation Act of 2010; advice that, according to the LGA, was unwarranted.

Meanwhile, Attorney General Ahmed Usham said on Wednesday that the LGA had no authority to instruct the council to withdraw its statement.

Usham, speaking at a press conference, said that since it was within the AG Office’s mandate to offer legal advice to the LGA, his office had clarified to the agency that they cannot ask the council to withdraw their statement.

“It is difficult to believe that the LGA can [legally] ask the council to cancel a press release. I do not believe such an action [can be justified],” Usham said.

The President, on Tuesday night, also stressed a policy of non-interference with the councils.

“Councils should be given full powers to give full powers to the people. It is not my policy to take action against councils and obstruct councils. Therefore, I will not support the Local Governance Authority to do anything like that… The administration will not confront any council with anything like that,” Muizzu said.

The president’s official visits to the atolls, which come as the country prepares for the parliamentary elections in April, have drawn sharp criticism from his opponents and observers alike; however, Minister for Strategic Communications at the President’s Office Ibrahim Khaleel told local media that rumours suggesting the president was engaging in party political activities through his official visits were false and unfounded.