Bloggers’ association to challenge computer crimes clauses in Finance Act 2018

The Bloggers Association of Kenya (BAKE) is concerned that the government has reintroduced sections of the Computer Misuse and Cyber Crimes Act, (2018) that were suspended by the High Court through the Finance Act 2018.

In the Finance Act 2018 that was signed by President Uhuru Kenyatta last week, various sections have the same provisions as in the Cybercrimes law. This move compel the association to seek an amendment to the current case we are pursuing against the Cybercrimes law to include these new provisions.

The specific sections of the Finance Act 2018 that we have identified are;

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 authorised; 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.

A decision on the suspension of 26 sections of the Cybercrimes law will be made on 1st October following an appeal by the Attorney General. It is worrying that government is already running ahead to duplicate certain sections while the courts’ decision is pending. BAKE will not sit back and allow the government to take back hard-earned freedoms.

On October 1st 2018, while High Court Judge Wilfrida Okwany will be making her decision on the case, we shall apply for an amendment to the case to add these provisions.

The Finance Act comes to effect on October 31st 2018.

Formed in 2011, the Bloggers Association of Kenya (BAKE) is a community association of Kenyan bloggers and content creators that promotes online content creation & protects digital rights in Kenya. In its history, BAKE has empowered 25,000 Kenyans with digital skills (blogging, Social Media & digital security) in addition to protecting digital rights and media freedom through advocacy and litigation.


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