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The Bloggers Association of Kenya (BAKE) has raised concerns that the government has reintroduced sections of Computer Misuse and Cyber Crimes Act, 2018 that were suspended by the High Court.

According to the community association, the Finance Act 2018 that was signed into law last week by President Uhuru Kenyatta has similar provisions as in the cybercrimes law.

“This move compels us to seek an amendment to the current case we are pursuing against the Cybercrimes to include these new provisions,” BAKE says in a statement.

BAKE has identified the following sections in the Finance Act:

  1. The Tax Procedures Act, 2015 is amended by inserting the following new sections immediately after section 103—29 of 2015.

Unauthorized access or improper use of computerized tax system.

103A. (1) A person who—

(a) knowingly and without lawful authority, by any means, gains access to or attempts to gain access to any computerized tax system;

(b) having lawful access to any computerized tax knowingly uses or discloses information obtained from such system for a purpose that is not authorised; or

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103B. (1) A person who knowingly —

(a) falsifies any record or information stored in any computerized tax system;

(b) damages or impairs any computerized tax system; or

(c) damages or impairs any duplicate tape or disc or other medium on which any information obtained from a computerized tax system is held or stored otherwise than with the permission of the Commissioner, commits an offence.

(2) A person convicted of an offence under subsection (1) shall be liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years, or to a fine not exceeding eight hundred thousand shillings, or to both.

High Court Judge Wilfrida Okwany will make a decision on October 1, 2018, to suspend 26 sections of the Cybercrimes laws following an appeal by the Attorney General. On this same day, BAKE plans to apply for an amendment to the case to include these provisions.

“It is worrying that government is already running ahead to duplicate certain sections while the courts’ decision is pending. BAKE will not sit back and allow the government to take back hard-earned freedoms,” the association states.

The Finance Act takes effect on 31 October 2018.

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