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Muturi orders speedy probe on cyber-bullying against MPs

By Moses Njagih | Published Wed, March 14th 2018 at 10:30, Updated March 14th 2018 at 11:36 GMT +3
A section of Kenya's Parliament (PHOTO: FILE)

NAIROBI, KENYA; Speaker of the National Assembly Justin Muturi has directed a house committee to conduct a probe on rising cases of cyber-bullying, even as MPs protested the rate at which they were falling prone to cyber criminals.

Muturi directed the committee on security and National Administration to within seven days summon the Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet, the Director of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) George Kinoti to commence probe in the menace that has seen many Kenyans conned through a cyber-network.

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The committee was also directed to summon the Director General of the Communication Authority and mobile telephony service providers to shed light on why cyber criminals are hardly brought to justice, even when matters are reported to the police.

The Speaker’s directive came following complaints of rampant cases of cyber-bullying targeted at the law makers , as some revealed how they have been conned off money and others complaining of receiving disturbing photos and messages from criminals who access their numbers.

“These criminals have somehow found our numbers and keep sending very dangerous photographs, some of them you may not even stand watching them with naked eyes, as they show parts of human anatomy that are disturbing,” complained Minority Whip Junet Mohammed.

Murang’a Women Representative Sabina Chege triggered the revelations by MPs who disclosed how they are either conned by people who pose as needy constituents requesting financial help.

“The said individuals have been registering mobile numbers in our names and thereafter using those numbers to solicit for funds from unsuspecting Members,” revealed Ms chege.

She added: “The con individuals have mainly been targeting MPs who are either bereaved or those with fund raising projects to solicit funds whereby the individuals sends text messages to members alleging that they are in urgent need of funds or in a situation that requires funds”.

The statement led to revelations with Majority Leader Aden Duale disclosing how a certain woman has mobilized numbers of male legislators, who she sends obscene pictures to.

“I am told she leaves somewhere in Dandora. She sends us obscene picture that can be very embarrassing. Another one has a parody account, complete with my photo and asks for Sh 2000 in application fees claiming that I am offering jobs,” Duale said.

He rallied the fast-tracking of the Cyber Crimes Bill, which is coming up for second reading next week, saying it would tame the criminals.

MPs complained that despite reporting many incidents in police stations, there was little that the law enforcers were doing to bring to book those behind the crimes.

“When I reported the matter to a police station in my constituency, they told me those behind the messages were in Kodiaga Prisons and I was wondering if they are in the facility, then why is it difficult to nab them,” said Kimilili MP Eseli Simiyu.

The legislators complained that parliamentary staff could be giving out mobile contacts of MPs, a matter dismissed by Muturi who rallied to the support of the staff.

Muturi said since the matter was a security threat to MPs, and Kenyans generally, it was important that it is expedited, asking the committee to make sure that within seven days they conduct the probe.