Dar es Salaam. President John Magufuli on Monday July 22 ordered the Ministry of Energy to reinstate the ex-director of the Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC)Dr James Mataragio.
Dr Mataragio, a geoscientist, had been removed from the same position by the TPDC Board of Directors in August 2016.
A statement released by the Directorate of Presidential Communications in Dar es Salaam said President Magufuli has directed Dr Mataragio’s immediate re-instatement.
Former President Jakaya Kikwete appointed Dr Mataragio in December 2014.
Dr Mataragio, who holds a PhD in Geochemistry, Mineralogy, Structural Geology and Petroleum Geology from the Missouri University of Science and Technology in the USA, was appointed basing on the role he played in freely advising Tanzania on how to develop the oil and natural gas sector.
During that time, Dr Mataragio was in diaspora in the USA where he worked as senior geoscientist with a company known as Bell Geospace in Houston.
He worked in the capacity of TPDC director general until August 2016 when the TPDC Board of Directors suspended him, along with four other top officials, over a number of accusations including violating procurement regulations.
Suspended together with Dr Mataragio were: upstream director Kelvin Komba, director of finance George Seni, director of internal audit Gabriel Mwero and the director of procurement, Edwin Riwa.
A statement from the TPDC board chairman Prof Sufian Bukurura said in August 2016 that the suspended top officials had violated procurement laws and infringed public service regulations in the conduct of their work, by conflict of interest.
They were also accused of spending budget funds without the approval of top authorities and unaccounted for important information concerning TPDC.
In March last year (2018), Dr Mataragio, Mr Komba, Mr Seni, Mr Mwero and Mr Riwa were arraigned at the Kisutu Resident’s Magistrate Court in Dar es Salaam, charged with corruption offences over alleged irregularities in the award of a survey contract to a U.S. firm.
They awarded a $3.24 million airborne mining survey contract to U.S firm Bell Geospace (Dr Mataragio’s former employer in the USA) without authorisation of the TPDC board.