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77 Chinese held in city cyber crime bust

A cyber command centre capable of disrupting communication systems in the country has been found in a Nairobi estate.

Directorate of Criminal Investigations officers on Wednesday carried a swoop in the house in the posh Runda Estate and arrested Chinese citizens.

Police said the Chinese were preparing to raid the country’s communication systems.

The centre, with its modern software, is said to be capable of infiltrating bank accounts, M-Pesa and even ATMs. It is suspected to be the biggest such centre in Africa.

SOPHISTICATED GADGETS

The Chinese were discovered after a fire broke out in the rented house, killing one of them.

Police had gone to the house to investigate the incident when they found the group hurdled in a room that had “sophisticated” communication gadgets.

By Wednesday, 77 Chinese were charged in a Nairobi court in connection with the activities at the premises.

On Tuesday, 37 of them appeared before magistrate Hannah Kaguru who ruled that they be detained at Gigiri Police Station for five days for further investigations.

And on Wednesday, 40 of the Chinese were charged with illegally operating a radio station in Runda estate.

The prosecution said that the police found some of the equipment in the house where the accused lived.

Ms Kaguru ordered that the new group be remanded in custody for 10 days.

BREAKTHROUGH

ICT Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i, his Foreign Affairs counterpart Amina Mohamed and DCI Director Ndegwa Muhoro visited the house on Wednesday.

They said the discovery of the equipment was a breakthrough in the fight against cyber crime.

The Chinese Ambassador to Kenya has been summoned to the Foreign Affairs ministry to explain how his nationals were running such a huge centre.

“We summoned the Deputy Ambassador where Ms Amina made it clear that the Chinese Government should fully cooperate on this matter. China promised to send investigators to work with ours on this matter,” Dr Matiang’i said

He said the house hosted more than 70 people, whom he claimed, were behind the recent spate of cyber crimes in the country.