The cabinet has approved the Computer and Cybercrime Bill 2016, which deals with fraud in the digital era. The Bill is critical to supporting investigative and prosecutorial challenges arising from the current legal framework.

In a meeting chaired by President Uhuru Kenyatta Thursday, the cabinet nodded to the processes that will see issues such as identity theft, online fraud, money laundering, phishing, cyber stalking, hate speech and radicalisation arrested.

Computer and Cybercrime Bill 2016 criminalises the conduct such as illegal access, data and system interference, child pornography and other computer related fraud.

In June last year, the Information Technology, Security and Assurance (ISACA) Kenya chapter said that there are 3,000 cyber-crime related incidences reported in Kenya every month.

ISACA President Paul Roy Owino revealed the internet based crimes documented range from banking fraud, money transfer (Mpesa) and personal data being interfered with by hackers. He said that internet banking services have also been affected as hackers and fraudsters worldwide are able to access personal and organization data.

Owino added that criminals deliberately resort to manipulating data in some organizations saying there was a need for a proper regulated industry and thorough protection of digital platforms.

Computer and Cybercrime Bill 2016 is also aimed at improving investigations into cybercrimes by making provisions for procedural law tools and securing electronic evidence for effective national and international cooperation.

The legislation proposes tough and strict penalties for those who commit offenses under the law. Infiltrating security measure and gaining access to a computer system, with full knowledge that such actions are unauthorized attracts a fine of sh5 million or imprisonment for a period not exceeding 3 years or both. If an offender accesses a computer system with the intent of facilitating another crime under law such an individual will face a fine of sh10 million or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years or both.

In addition, interference with computer systems which threatens national security; causes injury or death; threatens public health and safety or leads to a financial loss to any person will attract a fine of sh20 million or imprisonment term of 10 years.

Other crimes like child pornography have fines not exceeding sh20 million or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 25 years. Scammers will be fined sh20 million or face imprisonment terms not exceeding 10 years.

Committing of crimes stipulated by the act, on protected computer systems (systems used in defence and security matters) will attract sh25 million or face a prison term not exceeding 20 years.