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Court orders Sh4b KRA hacking case to proceed

Tuesday, June 4th, 2024 03:45 | By
Former KRA IT expert Alex Mtuku and eight others are accused of electronic fraud. PHOTO/Print
Former KRA IT expert Alex Mtuku and eight others are accused of electronic fraud. PHOTO/Print

A Nairobi court has allowed a case in which the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) lost about Sh4 billion to proceed.

In the case, former KRA IT expert Alex Mtuku and eight others are accused of electronic fraud. A prosecution witness was to be cross-examined before Milimani Chief Magistrate Susan Shitubi but it could not proceed because the witness did not come to court.

This prompted defence lawyers, led by J. Were, to oppose any further adjournments, accusing prosecutors of delaying the case that was filed in 2017.

Lawyers urged the court not to allow prosecutors to seek an adjournment, arguing that the accused have the right to have their case concluded.

The court heard that one new witness was present in court but he could only testify after the court completes cross-examining the absent witness.

Instead of adjourning the case, defence lawyers argued, the court should terminate it and discharge the accused for lack of evidence.

The magistrate concurred with the lawyers, saying the case has been pending in court for too long. She ordered prosecutors to make the witnesses available in court today (Tuesday).

Mtuku is charged alongside Joseph Kirai Mwangi, who ran unsuccessfully for Embakasi North MP. The two are said to have masterminded the loss of about Sh4 billion from the tax collector.

The other suspects are former police officer Calvin Otieno Ogola, Gilbert Kiptala Kipkechem, Lucy Katilo Wamwandu, David Ndung’u Wambugu, Edward Kiprop Langat, Kenneth Opere Riaga, Omar Ibrahim and James Mwaniki Gakung’u. They all deny the charge of conspiracy to steal from the KRA, being in possession of a firearm and ammunition, and acquiring uncustomed goods.

Prosecutors allege the accused committed the offence between March 1, 2015 and March 1, 2016. The suspects have also denied interfering with the functions of the tax agency’s computer systems.

Ogola is separately charged with possession of an AK-47 rifle and 24 rounds of ammunition without a certificate.

Wamwandu, who was a supervisor at the domestic taxes department at the KRA, is accused of stealing Sh1 billion.

Riaga is facing charges of abuse of office by altering and falsifying electronic records belonging to KRA. All the accused persons are out on bond ranging from Sh1 million to Sh300,000

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