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Tanzanian cabinet dissolved on corruption scandal

Tanzania's prime minister and two Cabinet ministers resigned over a corruption scandal involving a contract with a US-based firm, leading to the dissolution of the government.

“I have written to the president to relieve me of my duties after serving the government for two years,” Prime Minister Edward Lowassa told parliament Thursday in Dodoma, 400 kilometers (250 miles) north of Dar es Salaam.

Energy Minister Nazir Karamagi and East African Cooperation Minister Idrissa Msabaha, also resigned. Msabaha was energy minister at the time the government was negotiating a contract with Texas-based Richmond Development Corp. LLC.

President Jakaya Kikwete dissolved his entire Cabinet, according to a government statement issued late Thursday.

Lowassa's letter said that he was wrongly implicated and never was given a chance to explain.

The resignations follow Wednesday's highly critical report by a parliamentary committee into a contract awarded to Richmond Development to supply emergency power about two years ago.

A contract of $172.5 million was signed to supply the government with 100 megawatts of emergency power when the drought hit Tanzania's hydroelectric dams. But generators arrived faulty and late, or not at all.

The committee's chairman, Harrison Mwakyembe, presented written evidence he said linked the three men to the contract.

He said the contract was losing the East African nation millions of shillings (tens of thousands of U.S. dollars) a day. (iht)