The fight against cybercrime in Kenya received a boost after President Uhuru Kenyatta directed that the police be given Sh1 billion to intensify their operations.
The money, Mr Kenyatta said Friday, will be allocated from levies collected by the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA).
“We have agreed that in order to boost the Directorate of Criminal Investigations to deal with cybercrime, the Communications Authority - which has the Universal Service Fund through which they collect money and we do not know how they spend it...Sh1 billion from the fund will be moved to the DCI,” he said today.
The President went on: “It will help also to deal with sophisticated crimes. We are also eager to see the completion of civil works at the forensic laboratory at DCI headquarters and I expect it will soon be equipped and will help protect Kenyans from criminals.”
The fund set up in 2009 is primarily financed by mandatory contributions from licensed operators who provide services in various communications market segments.
Other income to the CA fund comes from government appropriations, returns from investments, gifts, donations, grants and endowments among other sources.
The communications sector regulator is mandated to manage and administer the fund.
Its key responsibilities include supporting expansion of communication services to schools, health facilities and other organisations serving public needs. It also helps private service providers to reach rural and remote areas which they normally would deem not profitable.
The president was speaking to senior police commanders at the Kenya School of Government in Kabete.
Once complete, the forensic lab will be used by specialised units of the DCI and other law enforcement agencies to scientifically analyse samples that would then be packaged into water-tight evidence and used to prosecute suspects in court.
Services at the lab will include forensic ballistics, bomb and explosive analysis, scenes of crime analysis, biometric and finger prints analysis, photographic, video and audio analysis, cyber crime analysis, biological analysis, chemical analysis and quality control among others.
At present police rely on the government chemist at Kenyatta National Hospital for biological and chemical analysis and in complex DNA cases, they seek help abroad.
The move comes amid leadership wrangles at the Communications Authority that saw director-general Francis Wangusi barred from resuming his post at the agency on Thursday.
He had been sent on a three-month compulsory leave by the regulator's board but was later re-instated following a January 30 court order.
In his petition, Mr Wangusi claimed that the board's move to send him home was linked to other unrelated matters including interference from the Ministry of Information, Communications and Technology (ICT).
Separately, activist Okiya Omtatah - who received court orders lifting a media switch off that saw three television stations go off air - was also blocked from serving the court order to the CA today.