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Kenyan who was accused of hacking, stealing Sh. 4 billion from KRA

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KRA Systems: In March 2017, Alex Mutuku was charged in court for one of the most mysterious crimes to ever get recorded in a Kenyan court of law. Mutuku, then 28, was accused of hacking into the Kenya Revenue Authority systems in a computer attack that led to the loss of Sh. 4 billion. The magnitude of the hack was so huge that the story was circulated across the world through all major world news channels.

According to the charge sheet, Mutuku was accused of fraudulently causing the loss of Sh. 3,985,663,858 from KRA after allegedly interfering with the computer systems. In the following few days after this charge, Mutuku was revealed to have been living a highly opulent life.

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Mutuku was charged alongside Calvin Otieno Ogalo, Albert Komen Kipkechem, David Ndung’u Wambugu, Lucy Katilo Wamwandu, Edward Kiprop Langat, Kenneth Opege Riaga, Omar Ibrahim, James Mwaniki Gakung’u, Gilbert Kiptala Kipkechem and Joseph Kirai Mwangi. They denied the charges. The hacking was said to have happened between March 2015 and March 2017. The Assets Recovery Agency (ARA) obtained court orders freezing the accounts of these individuals.

However, some Kenyans came out to cast doubts on the alleged hacker’s fame. It all started with popular blogger Robert Alai who put to question the manner in which the alleged crime was reported. Then another Kenyan identified as James Sang posted:

“As a person with deep interest on matters IT, I pay extra attention when an incident like this is reported. But the story leaves more questions than answers. The reporter confers all sorts of appellations to a supposed “billionaire” who makes a living out of “hacking” computer systems; the latest one apparently being the KRA systems. The reporter does not provide a single example of the exploit this hacker used to breach the systems, nor even his technical skills, if he even has any.”

“No description of what systems exactly were hacked, and how those systems were connected to other systems that supposedly contained 4 billion shillings! I am not even sure the reporter fully understands what “hacking” means, or who a “hacker” is. The fact that one claims to be a hacker does not make him or her one. (And I challenge him to a competition on how to log in to a laptop. I will even throw in a username and password, and I bet he probably won’t have a clue!). And then he is also a “Billonnaire”? What’s his net worth then? Does the reporter know it, or all she did was scroll down his Facebook page showing him flossing with an SUV and a motorbike in front of a cornfield? Does that qualify him to be a billionaire?”

Indeed, although, Mutuku appeared to be obsessed with fame and show-off, his large lifestyle could not betray his billionaire status. He has since appealed to Kenyans to contribute and help him raise funds for setting up his bail.

According to doubters, Mutuku might have been a cover-up as other operatives stole the billions from the taxman. Nonetheless, it remains to be seen whether the prosecution will be able to prove and show how the Sh. 4 billion went missing from KRA systems as a result of the hacker’s activity.

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