Africa-Press – South-Africa. The Johannesburg businessman who illegally obtained the personal and business data of many South Africans from data services firm, Experian, has been handed a 15-year prison sentence.
Karabo Phungula, the founder of Hi-Pixel Communications, was sentenced on Wednesday after failing to appear for sentencing on three occasions, leading to the magistrate ordering his immediate arrest and cancelling of his bail.
He was arrested on 13 March and kept in custody until his sentencing.
Hawks spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Philani Nkwalase said the unit’s Serious Commercial Crime Investigation team had ensured that the 37-year-old Phungula was convicted and sentenced to 15 years imprisonment, as well being declared unfit to possess a firearm.
“Phungula appeared in the Palmridge Specialised Commercial Crimes Court on 28 and 29 March 2023, where he was found guilty and subsequently sentenced,” said Nkwalase.
Phungula was convicted by the same court in October 2022, following his arrest in September 2021 on charges of fraud and contravention of the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act.
In May 2020, Experian handed over the data of more than 23 million people and nearly 800 000 businesses to Phungula, who impersonated a businessman authorised to have the information.
Experian detected the breach on 22 July, more than 50 days after the data had already been transferred. The State submitted that Phungula had planned to sell the data for more than R4 million.
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