Ronald Nsale denies hacking into Safaricom system

Saturday April 22 2017

Uganda national Ronald Nsale hacker

Ugandan Ronald Nsale before a Nairobi court on April 21, 2017 where he was charged with hacking into Safaricom's system. He denied the charge. PHOTO | PAUL WAWERU | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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An Ugandan man was on Friday charged with hacking into Safaricom’s system.

Ronald Nsale had been in police custody and was presented in court following allegations that he had hacked into the electoral commission’s systems.

It was alleged that he was working with the Islamic State group and was charged with unauthorized access to a protected system.

The information technology expert appeared before chief magistrate Francis Andayi where he denied the charge.

He was released on a Sh200,000 bond.

The prosecution told court that Nsale committed the offence between December 1, 2016, and March this year.

He is believed to have accessed Safaricom’s systems remotely using a line registered under the name Edwin Mugwi to conduct an “unauthorized Sim swap”.

The line was allegedly given to him by a watchman, which triggered investigations to target Safaricom staff before Mr Nsale and a Kenyan, Mr Morgan Kamande, were arrested on March 31.

Both were released on bond after being taken to Parliament police station but were re-arrested and locked up at Central police station, Nairobi.

They were transferred to the Anti-Terror Police Unit headquarters, on suspicion of being involved in terror-related hacking activities with a larger criminal network affiliated to Isis and Isil cyber caliphate in the country.

According to detectives, they were being investigated for providing property and services for the commission of terrorism, collection of information for the same and obstructing the course of justice.

But the court heard on Friday that Safaricom’s fraud investigation manager, the unauthorized access had been discovered and a cybercrime report from the company’s IT expert linked Mr Nsale to the offense of hacking.

Mr Kamande was freed but Mr Nsale was asked to deposit his passport in court to ensure that he shows up for his trial.

“Mr Kamande is at liberty, his file is closed,” Magistrate Andayi said.

The case will be heard on May 23.