Tanzanian Energy Minister Quits Over Graft Scandal
Tanzanian Minister for Energy and Minerals Sospeter Muhongo resigned Saturday (January 24th), becoming the third top government figure to leave office over an energy sector graft scandal, AFP reported. Muhongo denied any wrongdoing, saying he resigned to "bring to an end this debate on the scandal" and, with general elections due in October, to "let our nation focus on other important issues". "I have not done anything wrong. I am not a thief. I have a good record and cannot start thieving at this age," he said. "I am incorruptible."
Also on Saturday, President Jakaya Kikwete appointed two new ministers to cabinet posts vacated following revelations of the scandal, which involved the illegal transfer of funds from Tanzania's Central Bank into private offshore accounts, with state-owned Tanzania Electric Supply Company (TANESCO) implicated. Last month Kikwete sacked Minister for Land, Housing and Human Settlement Development Anna Tibaijuka over her connections to the scandal. Kikwete re-shuffled six cabinet members following Muhongo's resignation. He appointed William Lukuvi to replace Tibaijuka and George Simbachawene as the new minister for energy and minerals.He earlier replaced the attorney general and appointed a new director of TANESCO.
(Sabahi/ Washington DC)