Of Malawi State House ‘hacker’, presidential impersonator and regime tricksters

The past week, Malawians were hit with news that police have arrested an individual for hacking into State House computers, disrupting the security system and stealing undisclosed sums of money using the president’s name.

Timpuza Mwansambo: Played down the 'hacking' issue

Timpuza Mwansambo: Played down the ‘hacking’ issue

We were told, by no lesser personage than the whole Deputy Inspector General  of Police, Rodney Jose, that the hacker, whose identity could not be immediately revealed, appear to be a computer expert who is likely part of a sophisticated crime syndicate, and that the police are treating the matter as a case of high national security.

A day later, acting Presidential Spokesperson, Timpuza Mwansambo made a statement which practically dialed down the so called sophisticated crime syndicate.  He said the hacker did not actually hack State House computers after all. The thieves, he said, only used the Mutharika name, with an ‘h’ at the end to steal from some unfortunate souls.

He said the ‘hacker’ merely created email accounts in the name of the President, which he used to fleece some kwachas from some unsuspecting ‘donors’.

According to Timpunza, the criminal directed his victims to deposit money in an account, which was in someone else’s name.

In the absence of information about the identity of the hacker, and a true profile of the crime, we may never be sure about who is responsible for the downgrading of the latest State House crime from a serious National Security matter to a mere case of impersonation.

Is it possible that Mwansambo or Rodney Jose don’t know what computer hacking is all about? Creating an email account in a name that is not yours can hardly be referred to as computer hacking. Countless school kids are doing it around the world on a daily basis. Is creating an email account in the name of Mutharika breach of national security warranting the involvement of the whole Deputy Inspector of Police?

In as much as this is an embarrassment to State House, it is more of stupidity for the victims of this crime. How could they have been gullible enough to deposit money in an account with a strange name thinking they are donating to the President or State House?

If it is indeed true that the hacker only used the President’s name through creating fake e-mail accounts to steal money from other people other than State House, then it is a matter of the hacker and his victims.

How State House is prominently coming in the picture here is neither here nor there.  Or, is State House embarrassed on behalf of its ‘donors’?

In fact, if it is about extorting money in the name of the President, then there are far bigger and darling criminals walking the corridors of State House. Is it not long ago when reports were awash in the media that some presidential aides, including Mutharika’s Personal Assistant, Ben Phiri, havebeen going around extorting money from people in the name of President Mutharika?

It was said that Phiri has been getting money from Malawians of Asian origin and other investors in return for appointments with the President. The President’s Personal Assistant nearly came to blows with fellow aid, Bright Malopa, apparently because Malopa wrote a memo to the President complaining about Ben Phiri’s conduct.  They currently don’t see eye to eye as Ben Phiri thinks Malopa is out to get his position.

So, this whole talk about some hacker or impersonator is empty and does not qualify to occupy large spaces in public discourse. The real hackers and impersonators live and work right at State House. Most of them eat with the State President on the same table.

Nine months after the DPP and President Mutharika won the national elections, these real ‘hackers’ and impersonators’ have become filthy rich through extortion of millions of Kwacha from unsuspecting members of the Asian business community.

Malawians have better things to think about like the much-touted Public Sector Reforms than wasting time listening to some distorted narrative of ‘hackers’ and ‘impersonators’ from some State House spokesperson and a suspicious Deputy Police Chief.

  • Hastings Kandoje is a political, social and economic commentator. He writes  for Nyasa Times in his own capacity
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19 thoughts on “Of Malawi State House ‘hacker’, presidential impersonator and regime tricksters”

  1. apundi says says:

    Hedeee kumangoti cash gate nanga izi ndiye zikhala state gate munthalika akudziwapo kanthu mbava yachabechabe ufa kuipa iwe

  2. i think no hacking here

  3. chimuponho says:

    zawo ndi zimodzi.

  4. Chimwemwe says:

    As for me, my interest in not in the identity of the hacker/impersonator/trickster/whatever. I am more interested in the victims/donors. These are the guys I think whose identity should be revealed and I would like to hear from them why they were inclined to make a “donation” to the president. Thank you

  5. Ineyo says:

    I don’t mean to play down the notoriety of Ben Phiri and other “insiders”, but there doesn’t appear to be material evidence linking Ben to the hacking, apart from the email Malopa allegedly wrote HE about Ben on an issue that may not be directly related to this hacking. Yet this article concludes on the premise that we shouldn’t look further than Ben for the culprit.

  6. frascis sakala says:

    Ben phiri is Mutharika’s [speicial aide] you cant touch him

  7. frascis samalani says:

    Ben Phiri is a thief in state house. You will pay heavy with Peter after 2019. We are keeping evidence

  8. atate says:

    Ben phiri and chimwemwe chipungu are president s agents who receive on behalf of big kahuna

  9. Khoswe wapadzala adaulura wapadenga.thus marvelous beaucratic propaganda.chanel the fund unto right channel.while impersonating to blow up?.is the President having access of the fund?so whereforth apoint to feign name if the name has no connection with the fund? aha. get me right am aint pressing acharge against.

  10. I have been outlining here openly dear readers that this case if indeed Police are keeping someone in the name of Hacker akungomulakwirapo munthuyo because at the state house or Police I don’t believe they have a sharp computer wizard who can throw himself in a busy high way of Internet fibre systems and uproot the real hacker of this proclaimed case. It requires strong and hybrid computer Tech-know how. And I even said that if this proclaimed man is indeed real then police have no reasons to punish him instead they should put up and cooperate with him entirely in their intelligence unit. Here in Malawi we have good computer minded and experienced scientists but not from Government side these scientists are in private and public sectors. Dealing with this case its like dealing with a complicated brain surgery I said this. Even at the state house there could be no one to hack the president but it must be a certain computer technician from one of the government greedy bwanas inheriting the possession of the New version of Computer Gate or iCT Gateology kind of mindset.

  11. Bob says:

    This Ben Phiri guy is a thorn in ass of the whole statehouse.

  12. Mmodziyenkha says:

    Who’s to get ablame and why not reveal the name or names?Somehow, in some way or another REEDUCATION can do betta those fund must not be directed straight unto Mr President account,isn’t it!

  13. Michel says:

    this is a good write up.real hackers are in state house.people like Ben Phiri are the real thieves who have conned a lot of people especially investors and Asians saying akakumana ndi the president.shame on u Ben Phiri.and don’t think u have the right to always go for akazi a anzako just because you have the stolen money.u need to be man napped9not kidnapped0 again and taught a bitter lesson this time around.anzanu amapanga behave whn theyre in positions of authority.mark my word son.

  14. Ngungudya says:

    Tell them kkkkkkk

  15. apao says:

    Story time tsopano, ngati amatenga za nac, mokakamiza, what more hhhhm

  16. Bwampini wa Muthanyura says:

    Good analysis. No wonder some senior DPP Cadets were the first to condemn The Nation’s story in the social media.

  17. mxii says:

    Good one. real hackers in state house komweko. True, Malawi police don’t even know what hacking is. Ku police kuja atha kukumanga munthu bcoz of their ignorance

  18. mthako wa alhomwe says:

    The truth is known to themselves.

  19. Achimidzimidzi says:

    Most people know that state House is a den of thieves. Akubalanadi okha okha.

    Rodney Jose is precisely, a criminal and very good criminal and for Mr. Mwasambo he is learning the ropes of the jungle. He will be there.

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