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Economy

Uhuru defends Waiguru over NYS hack scam

Anne Waiguru, the Devolution and Planning secretary. PHOTO | FILE
Anne Waiguru, the Devolution and Planning secretary. PHOTO | FILE 

President Uhuru Kenyatta on Thursday came to the defence of Devolution secretary Anne Waiguru over fraudulent dealings at the National Youth Service, amid concerns over the security of the national e-payment platform.

The NYS has been in the news since Wednesday last week after the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) notified the Devolution and Planning ministry of large suspect payments from their account.

On Thursday, State House said the alleged fraud was aborted and that the ongoing investigations have “been twisted to meet certain political ends.”

“The issue of Sh826 million has been twisted in order to execute a well-choreographed scheme,” said a statement from State House.

“There is no evidence of loss of funds given that the transaction was reversed at IFMIS (Integrated Financial Management Information Systems).’’

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Ms Waiguru said officials detected an attempt to hack into computers and make illegal payments of nearly Sh826 million.

Investigators have since established that the passwords of key officials were used to make illegal entries into NYS computer systems, which could have resulted in the theft of Sh695.4 million.

Cybercrime detectives have been called in to probe after insiders beached IFMIS and generated payments to fake suppliers. 

IFMIS is a computer system that processes procurement and payment of goods and services bought by the government.

The NYS saga has exposed its vulnerability amid revelations that the payment system does not have a backup in case its servers at Nairobi’s Herufi House are compromised.

However, the Treasury secretary Henry Rotich has defended the government financial system.

“We would not have been able to detect the NYS issue (had it not been) for the efficient audit trail generated by IFMIS,” said Mr Rotich.

The CBK is said to have queried the payment of tens of millions of shillings within a short time. But State House reckons that the CBK issued an alert over one transaction to MS Bora Global, adding that no other transactions were queried and that the regulator’s questions were a standard practice.

Six computers have been sized from the NYS staff for investigations and six firms identified as fake suppliers.

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