AROLINE KALOMBE, Lusaka
THE Lusaka Magistrate’s Court has sentenced three Bulgarians to nine years imprisonment with hard labour for stealing
K945,000 from various Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) in Lusaka and Kabwe.
Milko Stayanova Ketstadinov, 44, Hrito Ivanovdon Kov, 39, and Hassan Alwe Al Batti, 29, were found with a case to answer last year by Ndola High Court registrar Joshua Banda, who was sitting as magistrate.
When the case came up for judgment on Monday, Mr Banda convicted the trio on grounds that the prosecution had proved their case beyond reasonable doubt and he thus sent them to jail for nine years.
In the first count, Ketstadinov, Kov and Batti were charged with unauthorised access to or intercepting data. They were alleged to have intentionally accessed or intercepted data by planting a gadget on the ATM belonging to Barclays Bank Zambia.
In the second count, the trio had in their possession devices for capturing data, which were foreign ATM gadgets designed primarily to overcome security measures for protection of data.
It was alleged in count three that the trio, between November 7, 2013 and December 11, 2013, jointly and whilst acting together, stole K945,485.97 from Barclays Bank Zambia.
Last week, police in Chipata arrested a 40-year-old wife of a Lusaka police inspector for allegedly stealing over K26,000 using stolen ATM cards and personal identification numbers (PINs).
Eastern Province police commissioner Alex Chilufya said Mary Mwale has allegedly been stealing ATM cards and PINs from unsuspecting members of the public.
Mr Chilufya said Mwale has allegedly been withdrawing money from personal accounts of ATM card owners.
Meanwhile, investigations by the Zambia Daily Mail last Easter Holiday revealed that Barclays Bank Zambia and Zanaco had their ATMs hacked, resulting in loss of undisclosed sums of money.
The two commercial banks confirmed the incidents although they could not disclose how much they lost in the cyber-crime.
They urged customers to be vigilant by taking extra caution when transacting at ATMs.
And in August last year, police arrested two Nigerians after they were found tampering with an ATM at East Park Shopping Mall in Lusaka.