A hacker sentenced for stealing government funds

News South Africa

Tebogo Msimanga |

The East London-based Serious Commercial Crime Investigation team of the Hawks together with the Eastern Cape Department of Education and National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) ensured that 

The East London Specialised Commercial Crime Court convicted and sentenced Bruce Owen (44) on Wednesday, 23 August 2023 for charges of Theft. The Eastern Cape Department of Education

On 30 April 2010, The Eastern Cape Department of Education the department discovered 14 fraudulent transactions of payments that were purportedly made to four (4) different schools in the province. The discrepancies were identified when complaints were lodged by rightful beneficiaries who did not receive their funds and the matter was reported to the Hawks for investigation.

Warrant Officer Ndiphiwe Mhlakuvana said the Hawks investigation revealed that Owen hacked into the Basic Accounting System ( BAS) system of the department, accessed information and lodged unauthorised payments into his bank accounts. “This resulted in the financial loss of more than R600 000 from the government department”.

Mhlakuvana added that Owen illegally obtained information through the use of a key logger device designed to capture all the key keystrokes done on the computer keyboard. Once the information was captured by the key logger it was automatically saved on a memory device and was later used to hack into the system, utilising login credentials of the officials.   

“In February 2020, Owen was traced and arrested in Gauteng and after four months of being remanded in custody, he was ultimately released on bail”. He subsequently made several court appearances before he was sentenced to three (3) years direct imprisonment with no option of a fine on 23 August 2023.         

The Provincial Head of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, Major General Mboiki Obed Ngwenya applauded the joint team for the sterling job.

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