Alex Mutungi Mutuku was arraigned in court yesterday over electronic fraud, after allegedly hacking into the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) systems and making away with Sh 4 billion.
Mutuku, who did not plead to the charges as cyber crime officers asked that he be detained to give them more time to conduct their investigations and arrest other suspects, was arrested following after a multi-agency security operation, which was launched after several financial institutions reported losing cash through suspicious manipulation of their systems.
State Prosecutor Edwin Okello told the court that Mutuku has connections to an international cybercrime syndicate unit.
KRA hacking: a part of a larger project
“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. The information we have is just a tip of the iceberg. The racket is big and involves people outside the country,” said Mr Okello.
Okello also asked the court not to grant mutuku bail, saying that the suspect is a flight risk and should therefore be detained for 4o days pending investigations.
“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 Okello.
Chief magistrate Francis Andayi ordered Mutuku to be detained until March 28.
Other than KRA, several blue-chip banks, a parastatal and a supermarket chain are some of the institutions whose systems have been penetrated by the alleged cybercrime syndicate and money siphoned.
The police have also arrested a former police officer, a Kenya Revenue Authority employee and two American citizens who are now among 16 suspects in police custody for transnational crimes — that include cybercrime and drug trafficking.
A Chinese firm, China National Aero Technology International Engineering Company (Catic) has also been linked to the syndicate.
According to Information Technology, Security and Assurance (ISACA) about 3,000 cyber-crime related incidences are reported in Kenya every month,