Dar es Salaam — Chances that freelance journalist Erick Kabendera would soon walk to freedom were dashed on Monday after the state charged him with money laundering at Kisutu Resident Magistrate court in Dar es Salaam.
Mr Kabendera, through his lawyer, Mr Silinde Swedy, last week filed a case at the Kisutu Resident Magistrate Court in Dar es Salaam to demand his release on bail, following his arrest seven days ago.
But while his lawyers came for the court hearing of the bail application, the state slapped Mr Kabendera with charges of money laundering, tax evasion and leading organized crime.
According to the prosecution, on diverse dates between January 2015 and July 2019 in Dar es Salaam, and with other persons not before court knowingly facilitated a criminal racket.
The state further claims that the accused in the second offence failed to pay taxes amounting to Sh173.247 million payable to the Tanzania Revenue Authority.
In the third and final account , the journalist is accused of acquiring Sh173.247 million, while knowing that the said money was the proceeds of a predicate offence namely tax evasion and leading organized crime.
Mr Kabendera was arrested a week ago by the police who claimed he was being investigated over citizenship queries.
However, his lawyers said the immigration police did not have a case against him and handed him to the police for unspecified investigation, until today when he was charged with the serious offences.
Reports indicate that the police at the weekend took away Mr Kabendera's house title deed and his car logbook as part of their investigations. Rights activists, his family and ordinary members of the public called for his release in online campaign ahead of today's charging.