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Tanzanian Journalist Eric Kabendera Now Charged With Leading Organized Crime, Money Laundering

Tanzania journalist Eric Kabendera [Courtesy]

Tanzanian journalist Eric Kabendera was on Monday arraigned in court where he was charged with three counts of economic crimes after spending seven days in police custody.

In the first count, the freelancer journalist, who appeared at the Resident Magistrate’s Court in Kisutu in Tanzania’s capital Dar es Salaam, was charged with the offence of leading organised crime.

“On diverse dates between January 2015 and July 2019 at diverse places within the City and Region of Dar es Salaam, with other persons not in court. knowingly furnished assistance in the conduct of affairs of a criminal racket, with intent either to reap profit or other benefit, the charge sheet read in part.

The journo, who writes for local and international publications, faced a second account of failing to remit taxes to the Tanzanian government contrary to Contrary to Sections 105(a) of the Income To Act. [Cap. 332 R.E. 2008].

He is accused of failing to pay TSh 173,247,047.02 (Ksh7,776,731.67 ) to the Tanzanian Revenue Authority in the period between January 2015 and July 2019.

Read: Eric Kabendera To Remain In Custody Longer As Court Sets Bail Hearing For Next Week

In the third account, Kabendera was charged with the offence of money laundering contrary to Sections 3(u). 12(d) and 13(1a) of the Anti-Money Laundering Act, No. 12 of 2006.

“On diverse dates between January 2015 and July. 2019 at diverse places within the City and Region of Dar es Salaam acquired One Hundred Seventy- Three Million Two Hundred Forty-Seven Thousand Fort, Seven and two cents (Tsh. 173.247,047.02) Only, while at the time of receipt he knew that the said money was the proceeds of a predicate offence namely tax evasion and leading organized crime, ” the charge sheet read.

Earlier, the police had indicated that they were investigating his citizenship.

However, on Friday his lawyer, Jebra Kambol stated that his client, who was arrested on Monday last week, would face sedition charges.

Read Also: Tanzanian Police Confirm Arrest Of Journalist Erick Kabendera

This, he said, is in connection to with an article published in The Economist about the nation’s president entitled: John Magufuli is bulldozing Tanzania’s freedom.

Ever since Magufuli took office, Kabendera has written about being harassed and stalked by government operatives.

Magufuli has in the past four years had newspapers shut down.

Azory Gwanda, another journalist and government critic disappeared in 2017 and has never been found.

Following his arraignment, human rights activists led netizens in condemning the journalist’s arrest under the hashtag #FreeErickKabendera.

Here are some of the reactions:

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Written by Wycliffe Nyamasege

Email news@kahawatungu.com

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