DAR ES SALAAM (Reuters) – Tanzania’s attorney general has resigned, becoming the first political casualty in an energy corruption scandal that has led Western donors to delay aid.
The resignation late on Tuesday followed a vote in parliament last month calling on the government to dismiss senior officials, including Attorney General Frederick Werema, for their role in an energy deal lawmakers say was fraudulent.
President Jakaya Kikwete has said he will respond later this week to parliament’s resolution, which is binding.
Tanzania is estimated to have 53.2 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of gas reserves off its southern coast, but its energy sector has long been dogged by allegations of graft.
Lawmakers found the officials, including the attorney general and the energy minister, fraudulently authorised the transfer of at least $122 million of public funds to a private company. The funds came from an escrow account held jointly by state power company TANESCO and independent power producer IPTL and went to IPTL’s owner, Pan Africa Power (PAP) in 2013.
The government officials denied any impropriety in the transfer of the funds, and PAP said the transfer was legal.
In his resignation letter, Werema said he was stepping down “because his advice on the Tegeta escrow account issue had not been understood and had disrupted the country’s political atmosphere.”