Cyber Crime remains a major headache to the financial sector in Kenya with its main targets being financial institutions in the country.

With this in mind, financial auditors and the government have called on industry players to invest in technology in order to beat the crime.

Auditors have cited a presence of a regulator in the Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies (SACCOs) sector as one of the ways the sector has survived cybercrime attempts. Saccos lost Sh. 106 million in 2021 to cyber theft amid increased mobile banking.

Mr. Frederick Ambale, Managing partner and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Ogot and Company limited, an audit firm for various Saccos across Kenya said that the Saccos Societies Regulatory Authority (SASRA) has been working closely with Saccos to avert cybercrime as opposed to general financial firms.

“Government intervenes on cybercrime in Saccos largely through SASRA and as we come for an audit we give recommendations and SASRA makes sure that the relevant Saccos implement our recommendations,” he said.

This, he added, was not happening in general financial companies that are still victims of cybercrime since they lack a regulatory body that guides their operations.

“General companies still have a larger problem because they are not having the advantage of Saccos that are regulated and given advice directly from the government through SASRA. The general situation in the country is not very good as far as cybercrime is concerned and I think we need to do better,” He said.

He said this during the official opening of Imarika Plaza in Kilifi town, Kilifi County. The ten storey Plaza is the headquarters of Imarika Sacco DT constructed at a cost of Sh. 500 million.

“When auditing we ensure that companies have robust internal systems for checking cybercrime and we set aside a specified step to just zero in into the cyber system of any organization including Imarika Sacco and in that line, where we have weaknesses we report specifically in that particular area and that is not included in other reports of the audit and in the same line it has helped many Saccos to strengthen their cyber system and even detect cybercrime processes within minutes,” he added.

Dr. Thomas Ongallo, an Audit Manager said that with proper cyber systems in place, Saccos were turning out to be the most preferred financial institutions among Kenyans.

The chairman of Imarika Saccos Renson Ndoro, said that cybercrime has not affected the organization in a huge way and has been curbed within the Sacco since they have installed robust software that detect crimes faster hence allows action to be taken to safeguard members money.

“We have had few such cases but we have high level and robust ICT systems that have helped us not to fall victim to cybercrime. We have been able to arrest a few individuals who tried to hack into our systems to steal money,” he said.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for Imarika Sacco said that his organization has 140,000 members with a Sh. 10 billion turnover and has also launched a five year strategic plan to double the number of members.

‘’The 5-year plan seeks to add value to our esteemed members by growing our savings deposits to Sh. 15.8 billion by 2026 and our loan portfolio to Sh. 16.3 billion at the end of the same period,” he said

By Treeza Auma

Treeza Auma is a Digital Content Producer and founder of KTMN She is also Television journalist at Kenya News Agency and Leadership Accelerator at Women in News.

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