Alex Mutungi Mutuku, the 28-year-old man how has become the face of hackers in Kenya, was yesterday charged with hacking Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) systems and causing the loss of about Ksh4 billion. An analysis of the precise 10-figure amount he is accused of stealing later in this article has left even IT experts perplexed, as it looks like a code in itself.
Mr Mutuku is accused of causing the loss of Ksh3,985,663,858 from KRA by interfering with the institution’s computer systems between March 2015 and March 2017. The amount is so precise, as opposed to rounded off figure, you’d imagine it was payment for some service. The figure has at 8 appearing thrice, 3, 5 and 6 appearing twice! Investigators are looking at the numbers to pick any sequence that could resolve the hackers secret code.
Mutungi did not plead to the charge because cybercrime officers asked for more time to conduct their investigations and arrest more suspects. Investigations indicate that Mutuku’s operation had connections to a deep-rooted syndicate with foreigners.
According to State Prosecutor Edwin Okello, the hackers have high-tech equipment and software which they use to steal from corporations.
At KRA police managed to track the syndicate after it fraudulently acquired almost Ksh4 billion. “It is a case of remote control hacking where the suspects operate smoothly with their machines and the next minute you realise you have no money in your account,” said Mr Okello. “The information we have is just a tip of the iceberg.”
Mr Okello pleaded with the magistrate to allow detectives to detain the suspect for 40 days, arguing that he is a flight risk as he has been visiting several countries.
“His passport shows that he is a person who is able to walk in and out of Tanzania at will and has been visiting Uganda, Burundi, and India. He is a frequent traveller outside the country, which makes him likely to abscond court if released on bail,” said Mr Okello.
But Mutuku’s lawyer, Tacey Makori, objected to her client’s continued detention, arguing that Mutuku had already spent 14 days in police custody and should be released. She claimed that the Ksh4 billion he was alleged to have stolen was fictitious and only meant to hoodwink the public. Chief magistrate Francis Andayi ordered Mutuku to be detained until March 28.
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