Court Adjourns Ruling on Kenya Computer Misuse and Cybercrime Case to a Later Date

Finance Act 2018

Finance Act 2018Nearly two years ago, we examined the new Computer Misuse and Cybercrime Act. To avoid the risk of examining the entire document, you can find the Act here.

For purpose of familiarity, the Act proposes the creation of the National Computer and Cybercrimes Coordination Committee to advise the government about blockchain technology, mobile money and critical infrastructure.

The Act details criminal offenses such as unauthorized access, unauthorized interference, accessing computer systems with intent, unauthorized disclosure of password or access codes and their associated penalties. It is also worth noting that the section had previously appeared under the existing Kenya Information and Communications Act (KICA).

You can go back and refer to this excellent analysis for more information.

A couple of months after the Act was availed to the public, it was discovered that the Government had snuck in some clauses found in the already signed Finance Act 2019. The discovery was met with backlash from ICT players and leaders, including the Bloggers Association of Kenya (BAKE).

BAKE took the matter to the courts, and requested the amendment of the following sections, among many others:

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 a 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 another 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 offense.

(2) A person convicted of an offense 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.

After deliberations in court, it was ruled that the matter would be cleared in February 2020. The exact date was today, but Hon. Mr. Justice James A. Makau has since adjourned the hearing to February 20.

We will update you on the development from the courts on said date.