Former Gautrain techie gets 10 years in prison for installing spyware to steal millions

The Johannesburg Specialised Crimes Court has sentenced a former IT technician to an effective 10 years in prison for attempting to steal millions from the Gautrain company, News24 reports.

Obakeng Israel Busang had installed spyware on Gautrain Management Agency (GMA) computers which was to be used to siphon off funds from the company’s account.

On Monday, he was convicted on 38 counts of contravening Section 86 (4) of the Electronic Communication and Transactions Act.

Busang had originally pleaded not guilty back in 2014, but later changed this plea to guilty and made admissions in terms of Section 220 of the Criminal Procedure Act.

According to News24, the offences were grouped according to the nature or type spyware that was used, with Busang being sentenced to five years for each group.

The court ordered that certain counts run concurrently, which resulted in a total sentence of 20 years imprisonment.

Half of this was suspended for a period of five years on the condition that Busang is not found guilty of contravening any provisions of the Electronic Communications Transaction (ECT) Act.

Syndicate involved

NPA spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwane said that Busang claimed he had been recruited by a syndicate to obtain the login credentials of persons who make payments to GMA’s creditors.

Busang had connected his laptop to the GMA system, allowing him and the syndicate to harvest usernames and passwords of GMA staff.

“He stated that he was promised a reward if he could provide the login credentials of certain employees, but could not get the login credentials of both the CFO and the CEO,” Mjonondwane said.

The GMA stood to lose R800 million if Busang had been successful.

GMA IT Security Officer Henry Denner previously testified that the agency was advised to upgrade its system following the incident.

It spent R8.5 million on upgrades and spent a further R1.2 million on having the spyware removed and replacing affected hard drives.

SA Post Office defraudment

In a separate matter, Busang was allegedly also involved in defrauding the SA Post Office of R42 million between December 2011 and January 2012.

During this time, the State alleges money was fraudulently paid into at least 103 PostBank accounts.

A total of R265,000 was transferred to Busang’s bank account and withdrawn at various ATMs in January 2012.

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Former Gautrain techie gets 10 years in prison for installing spyware to steal millions