Dar es Salaam,
Negotiations between Tanzania's office of Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and freelance journalist Erick Kabendera, who faces economic sabotage charges, are still ongoing, the Kisutu resident magistrate Janeth Mtega heard on Wednesday.
The case was adjourned to January 2, 2020 and Mr Kabendera sent back to remand prison, which effectively means that the freelance journalist will spend the Christmas holiday behind bars.
Mr Kabendera was initially arrested late July after police said his citizenship was questionable.
He was later charged with economic crimes including money laundering and tax evasion—charges that are not attract bail. The case has since been adjourned five times.
“When the case was adjourned two weeks ago we were directed to inform the court about the progress of plea bargaining talks between the DPP’s office and the defense side; I hereby inform the court that the talks are still ongoing,” said defence lawyer Jebra Kambole on Wednesday.
He added that the defence will keep the court informed about the progress of the negotiation.
Earlier on, State Attorney Wankyo Simon told the court that investigations into Mr Kabendera’s case is yet to be completed.
He faces charges of money laundering, tax evasion and involvement in organised crime.
According to the prosecution, on diverse dates between January 2015 and July 2019 in Dar es Salaam, and with other persons, the accused 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 that was payable to the Tanzania Revenue Authority.
In the third and final count, the journalist is accused of obtaining Sh173.247 million, while knowing that the said money was the proceeds of offences, namely: tax evasion and involvement in organised crime.