Sunday Mail Editor arrest-a battle between Police and Defence in Zimbabwe? | Africa in the news Sunday Mail Editor arrest-a battle between Police and Defence in Zimbabwe? – Africa in the news
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Sunday Mail Editor arrest-a battle between Police and Defence in Zimbabwe?

By Staff Reporter

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Zanu PF elements from time-to-time enjoy using the Police to settle scores?

ARRESTED Sunday Mail editor, Edmund Kudzayi, has dismissed terrorism charges levelled against him saying “what the police are claiming to have investigated they actually got it from myself as I supplied them with the relevant information through Assistant Commissioner (Crispen) Makedenge.”

NewZimbabwe.com has now been made privy to documents and statements made by Kudzayi detailing his involvement in the alleged hacking of Baba Jukwa’s email accounts by an, as yet, unnamed Zimbabwean based in Australia in August 2013 which helped unmask the individuals behind the Facebook character and their collaborators.

In one of the documents, Kudzayi states that: “In August 2013 I was contacted by (name of individual protected) asking me to stand as an intermediary between him and an individual claiming to have incontrovertible evidence of Baba Jukwa’s identity and, more importantly, access to the email account which had been used to collect online payments on the Baba Jukwa Facebook page, namelybabajukwa2013@gmail.com.

“I believe the request was motivated by his knowledge of my technical background and a belief that I could ascertain whether or not the individual in question had credible evidence. I met the individual the same day at a restaurant in Glen Lorne. I quickly established that the information was credible as well as how the email account had been compromised.”

Ministry of Defence contact

Following that initial contact, Kudzayi claims to have then received, over the next three days, a cache of digital data related to the Baba Jukwa Facebook page as well as password access to the email account which held vast amounts of correspondence between Baba Jukwa and his collaborators.

“I immediately changed the password to the email account, the account recovery phone number and the account recovery email address to my personal and alias (Mai Jukwa) details,” he says, adding he then made presentations to the Ministry of Defence (MOD) explaining how the email account was compromised and the nature of the data harvested.

“The MoD was interested in the identities of local collaborators and requested that I carry out forensic work on the email account to find out the real identities of anonymous email accounts that had been in communication.

“The process took about a week and identified about a dozen local collaborators through header data analysis. The information was passed on to the MoD as well as the entire digital data cache. I remained in control of the email account. I was given a MoD contact who I kept abreast with any developments.”

After his appointment as Sunday Mail newspaper in April, the newspaper and other Zimpapers titles ran a series of articles about the unmasking of Baba Jukwa after which a decision was made to hand over the data to the police.

“Following two weeks of reporting the police contacted the Editor in Chief and wanted to speak to me. We went to see (ZRP Assistant Commissioner Makedenge) at Harare Central Police Station and explained to him the information we had in our possession and how it had come into our possession.

“Makedenge was eager to have the password to the email account. I gave him the password on Thursday May 15, 2014.”

Contacts with the police

At this point Kudzayi appears to have become aware of speculation linking him to Baba Jukwa but states, perhaps naively, that: “I do not think the police are taking the allegation that I am Baba Jukwa seriously.

“It would be rather silly of me to give them access to an email account that incriminates me. That is not to say I underestimate the potential for this sort of thing to create unhelpful innuendo.”

He claims that after the data was handed over to the police, the password to the Baba Jukwa email account was changed and “a number of incriminating emails … deleted”.

“I managed to regain access to the account using my mobile number since I had setup two step verification,” Kudzayi writes adding it was also clear that the account had been accessed by computers from multiple locations in and outside Zimbabwe.

“Security logs in the email showed the account had been accessed from multiple locations including The Netherlands and South Africa. It also revealed access by computers in Mutare, Bulawayo and Harare.

“I passed on the IP addresses to the MoD (ministry of defence) contact.

“The MoD contact advised me not to give the police access to the email account and that if they wanted any information they should contact the MoD.

“The police asked me for the new password but I told them that I did not have it and that they should contact the MoD. This was untrue but in line with instructions I had received from the MoD contact.”

Questionable police conduct

He claims to have managed to recover the deleted, potentially incriminating, emails.

“Through social engineering I managed to persuade Google to restore the deleted emails. The original incriminating emails are back in the account and I remain in control of the email.”

Kudzayi is accused of insurgency, terrorism, banditry, sabotage and subverting a constitutionally elected government – all charges carry a possible life sentence.

He was remanded in custody to July 7 when he appeared before a Harare magistrate on Monday who advised him to approach the High Court for bail.

The State will oppose bail with Assistant Commissioner Makedenge arguing that: “Investigations are still in progress and with his technical expertise, the accused can easily interfere with the evidence: for example deleting and tampering with computer-related evidence.”

Kudzayi’s brother Phillip Tawanda has also been arrested on similar charges. He was remanded in custody to July 7 on Thursday.

Political dimension

The Sunday Mail editor believes he is a victim of factional fights in the ruling Zanu PF party.

“I occupy a very strategic position within Zimpapers as the editor of the Sunday Mail of which those in the top echelons of the ruling party and government who believe falsely that I belong to a certain faction within Zanu PF have a motive to raise these malicious, frivolous and vexations allegations,” Kudzayi states in his affidavit.

“I submit that the charges I am facing are false and this is a reckless attempt by the powers that be to try and show the Head of State and Government President Robert Gabriel Mugabe that they have started to deal with the “weevils” in the Zanu PF party yet there is not even an iota of evidence that I committed the offense in question.

“These allegations are not only laughable but a clear abuse of the Criminal Justice System by those in the high corridors of power who are afraid that I can use my technological expertise to expose those who actually supplied the real Baba Jukwa with blow by blow details of sensitive meetings with Zanu PF and the Government of Zimbabwe.”

-New Zimbabwe

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