HERE are events around the Baba Jukwa saga leading to Sunday Mail Editor Edmund Kudzayi’s arrest a fortnight ago, as told by him in his affidavits for his bail application at the High Court and other documents summarising his defence.
According to Kudzayi, he was contacted in August 2013 by Water minister Saviour Kasukuwere to assess as an IT expert and make an overview of information provided by a hacker brought by Herbert Huruva, designer of the “Hovhorosi style” — overalls emblazoned with President Robert Mugabe’s signature.
Kudzayi met with the Zimbabwean hacker based in Australia at a restaurant in Glen Lorne, at which meeting he said he established the credibility of the information and how the Gmail account, firstname.lastname@example.org, had been compromised.
The hacker had said he had incontrovertible evidence of Baba Jukwa’s identity and information on the email account which was used to collect online payments on the Baba Jukwa Facebook page.
The hacker, Kudzayi said, refused to hand-over any information insisting he wanted assurance from a senior government official that he would get credit for his work.
At the time it was widely reported that a reward of US$300 000 would be paid for unmasking Baba Jukwa.
Kudzayi said he then made a report to Kasukuwere who referred him to Information minister Professor Jonathan Moyo.
Kudzayi met with Professor Moyo after which he persuaded the hacker to release information to him.
Over the next three days, Kudzayi said he received a cache of digital files linking South African based Zimbabwean journalists Mxolisi Ncube and Mkhululi Chimoio to the Baba Jukwa pages as well as access to the email account which had vast correspondence between Baba Jukwa and his collaborators.
He said he immediately changed the password to the email account, the account recovery phone number and the account email address to his personal and alias (Amai Jukwa) details.
Kudzayi says during that time he was working with two Ministry of Defence officials, a Moyo and a Kembo.
A meeting was arranged with the Ministry of Defence, where he did a detailed presentation attended by high level officials including Kembo, Moyo, Huruva and Professor Moyo.
“The MoD (Ministry of Defence) 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,” says Kudzayi.
“The process took about a week and identifies 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 breast with any developments.”
He said he was paid by the Ministry of Defence for the consultancy work. Sources in government claim that he was paid hundreds of thousands of United States dollars for the work. Kudzayi said after his appointment as Sunday Mail Editor, he decided to run the story.
“After my appointment as Sunday Mail editor, I decided to run the story but needed a credible entry point. I worked with a colleague to develop a video that recreated how the email account had been compromised as well as evidence that Mxolisi Ncube and Mkhululi Chimioi were the administrators and uploaded it to the internet as the work of unknown hackers,” he said.
“”To lend credibility to the story I arranged for NewZimbabwe.com to break the story on Saturday evening and we carried it the next morning.”
The story titled “Baba Jukwa Outed, Email Accounts Hacked” together with the Youtube video were published on the NewZimbabwe.com website on May 10, while The Sunday Mail published the story on May 11 titled “Hackers Unmask Baba Jukwa”.
After two weeks of reporting on the matter, the police contacted Zimpapers Editor-In-Chief Pikirayi Deketeke, saying they wanted to speak to Kudzayi.
Accompanied by Deketeke, Kudzayi met head of the Law and Order department Assistant Police Commissioner Crispen Makedenge at Harare Central police station.
Kudzayi gave Makedenge the Gmail password. On May 21, Makedenge called him asking him if he had changed the password, which he said he had not.
After failing to access the account from his computer, he regained access using his mobile number. He said security logs in the email showed the account had been accessed from multiple locations including the Netherlands, South Africa, Mutare, Bulawayo and Harare.
“The Ministry of Defence 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. I passed the IP addresses to the MoD contact,” he revealed.
“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.
“Through social engineering I managed to persuade Google to restore the deleted emails. The original incriminating emails are back in the count and I remain in control of the email.”