The Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) software engineering manager, Rose Basemera Kisembo, has said the suspects who caused a Shs 2bn loss to government used technology on a Samsung laptop near the authority's premises to access its passwords.
Kisembo was testifying against four suspects in the ongoing trial before the Anti-corruption court presided over by Justice Paul Mugambe last Friday. The suspects, including three clearing agents, allegedly tampered with the URA databases and servers and inserted goods, mostly motor vehicles, which had not paid customs duties, leading to the loss.
The accused are Gaster Nsubuga and Patrick Owora (from Cargo Supplies Limited) and Farouk Mugere, an employee with Shafa Clearing and Forwarding Limited. They are jointly charged with a computer specialist, Richard Kibalama.
The suspects face six counts including unauthorized use and interception of computer services, electronic fraud, unauthorized access to URA data, and producing or selling devices or computer programmes designed to overcome security measures for data protection.
They also face unauthorised access to customs computerized system contrary to section 191 of the East African Community Customs Management Act 2004. Kibalama faces a separate charge of destroying evidence.
"On this laptop there is a file on the external hard disk folder and anyone in possession of this file would have access determined by the accreditation which can be up to full access to the URA system," Kisembo testified.
Kisembo told court that there were six categories of administration parcels found on the laptop which included network, security, server, database and systems administrators.
Testifying that this information is not public, Kisembo told court that while at one time, the accused used her password R. Kisembo, on another occasion, they used that of R. Murungi, URA's supervisor network administrator, to access the authority's network.
"Using C. Shillayang's password who is an assistant commissioner (Domestic Tax Department), they accessed the most wanted password containing all the key administrator's passwords across the domain of URA system," Kisembo added.
The suspects are also accused of illegally clearing over 200 vehicles worth billions of shillings without URA's knowledge.