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According to Central Region Police Commander Larry Kieng’, the men went to the bank at about 7am am where they were ushered in by the Operations Manager and other staff/FILE

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8 Kenyans among 12 suspects sentenced to 8 years over cyber crimes in Rwanda

NAIROBI, Kenya, July 6- Twelve suspects, among them eight Kenyans, three Rwandese and a Ugandan have been sentenced to eight years imprisonment for cyber-related crimes committed in Rwanda.

The group was arrested in October 2019 by the Rwandan Investigation Bureau, while trying to hack into the Equity Bank System to steal clients’ money, according to news agencies in Rwanda.

The agencies identified the Kenyans as Dedan Muchoki Muriuki, Samuel Wachira Nyuguto, Kinyua Erickson Macharia, Godfrey Gachiri Githinji, Eric Dickson Njagi Mutegi, Reuben Kirogothi Mwangi, Damaris Njeri Kamau and Steve Maina Wambugu.

All the 12 suspects were convicted of criminal mischief or misdemeanor, computer access to information intended to commit a crime, change of computer information or network, unauthorized computer access and stealing.

They were also directed to collectively reimburse Equity Rwanda a sum total of Sh6 million for expenses related to the crime committed.

In 2019 the Rwandan Bureau of investigations further stated that “the group came to Rwanda after successfully defrauding the bank’s branches in Kenya and Uganda.”

Equity Bank is a regional financial services giant with presence across Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Equity Bank’s Chief Executive James Mwangi was in 2020 quoted as saying that the bank had experienced about 14,000 attempts to hack its financial systems.

In March 2018, technology firm Microsoft warned Kenya to take necessary steps amid a projected increase in cyber tacks.

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A month later, the National Bank of Kenya confirmed that fraudsters had taken off with Sh29 million in a suspected hacking incident.

In July 2017, the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) introduced cyber security policy guidelines to help banks deal with cybercrimes and prepare for emerging threats.

 Banks are required to compile and file annual reports with the regulator detailing how they plan to curb cyber security threats.

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