BAKE Faults Computer Misuse Clauses Snuck in the Financial Act 2018

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Finance Act 2018
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It appears that the Government of Kenya has reintroduced some sections of the Computer Misuse and Cyber Crime Act, (2018) that received backlash from key ICT players and enthusiasts in the country. The backlash escalated the matter to the High Court, which then suspended the clauses.

This development has been brought to light by The Bloggers Association of Kenya (BAKE), which noted some similarities between some provisions of the Cybercrime law and the Finance Act that was signed by the President last week. BAKE is, therefore, voicing its disappointment, and seeks an amendment to the existing case it is pursuing against the Act.

BAKE has identified the following sections in the Financial Act:

47. The Tax Procedures Act, 2015 is amended by inserting the following new sections immediately after section 103—29 of 2015.

Unauthorized access or improper use of computerized tax system.

103A. (1) A person who—

(a) knowingly and without lawful authority, by any means, gains access to or attempts to gain access to any computerized tax system;

(b) having lawful access to any computerized tax knowingly uses or discloses information obtained from such system for a purpose that is not authorized; or

103B. (1) A person who knowingly —

(a) falsifies any record or information stored in any computerized tax system;

(b) damages or impairs any computerized tax system; or

(c) damages or impairs any duplicate tape or disc or other medium on which any information obtained from a computerized tax system is held or stored otherwise than with the permission of the Commissioner, commits an offence.

(2) A person convicted of an offence under subsection (1) shall be liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years, or to a fine not exceeding eight hundred thousand shillings, or to both.

An appeal made by the Attorney General on the suspensions of 26 sections of the Cybercrime law will be decided on October 1 by High Court Judge Wilfrida Okwany.

BAKE’s worry is linked to the government’s decision to replicate some sections of the Act before the court announces its decision.

The Financial Act will go live on October 31, 2018.

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