Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Ghazouani on Thursday announced veteran public administrator Mohamed Ould Bilal as the country’s prime minister, reported Reuters. The announcement was made just hours after the previous government resigned amid an investigation into alleged high-level corruption.
The presidency announced Bilal’s appointment in a statement following the resignation of his predecessor Ismail Ould Cheikh Sidiya and his entire government. Bilal has previously served as the head of the country’s national water agency, a presidential aide and a cabinet minister.
According to local media, Bilal has been tasked with forming a new govermment. He has asked the Cabinet of his predecessor Cheikh Sidiya to continue until a new government team is appointed.
On Thursday, Cheikh Sidiya said he had submitted the government’s resignation to Ghazouani but did not provide an explanation.
“I was honored to be received by H.E the President of the Republic to whom I handed the resignation of the government,” Sidiya was quoted as saying by the Mauritanian News Agency.
A parliamentary investigation was launched this year to probe the alleged corruption in the government of former President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, who stepped down last year after a decade in power. Aziz came to power in a 2008 coup and was an important ally of Western powers in the fight against insurgents in the Sahel region.
Ghazouani’s inauguration in August last year marked the mostly desert nation’s first peaceful transfer of power since independence from France in 1960.
While Aziz’s close ally Ghazouani won the election to succeed him, the Mauritanian parliament had launched an investigation into his government’s actions, including deals involving offshore oil projects.
The investigators gave a report documenting their findings to the Mauritanian public prosecutor on Wednesday. Several current ministers were questioned about suspected graft that occurred on their watch while serving in senior positions in Abdel Aziz’s government.