Blue Line

Alberta Mountie accused of accessing police records for Rwanda

February 13, 2024  By Lauren Krugel, The Canadian Press

Feb. 13, 2024, Calgary, Alta. – A front-line Alberta Mountie has been accused of accessing police record systems to help the Republic of Rwanda, RCMP said Tuesday.

The officer was arrested Saturday and the alleged breach involved records that were not top secret, the RCMP Federal Policing Integrated National Security Enforcement Team said in a news release.

“Upon learning of the security breach, the RCMP implemented measures to monitor, mitigate and manage any further unauthorized disclosures and ensure maintenance of public safety as the investigation unfolded,” police said in a statement.

Christina Zoernig, a federal policing strategist with the RCMP, later confirmed in an email that Rwanda was the alleged “foreign actor” involved in the case.


Mounties have not provided details on the duties of the suspect or the type of information accessed.

“The RCMP is committed to combating foreign actor interference at all levels and is actively leveraging all tools at its disposal. Foreign interference takes on many forms and it is critical that all organizations are aware of the potential harm at any levels,” police said in the statement.

“The RCMP will pursue any form of interference, whether internal or external, and this is a good example of the efforts being made.”

Const. Eli Ndatuje, 36, has been charged with breach of trust and unauthorized use of a computer under the Criminal Code and breach of trust in respect to safeguarded information under the Security of Information Act.

Court records say he’s accused of communicating or agreeing to communicate “safeguarded information on the Canadian Police Information System to a foreign entity … the Republic of Rwanda.”

The system provides information about crimes and criminals.

The records also allege that, as a police officer, he committed a fraud or a breach of trust in connection with the duties of his office.

They say the offences were committed in Red Deer, Alta., on April 23, 2022.

The records add he’s not in custody and is scheduled to appear in provincial court in Red Deer on March 11.

Wesley Wark, a senior fellow with the Centre for International Governance Innovation, said details are scant but at first glance the security act charge against Ndatuje doesn’t seem that serious.

A conviction of breach of trust in respect to safeguarded information would carry a maximum sentence of two years in prison — one of the lightest penalties under the Security of Information Act, he said.

“It doesn’t involve communicating safeguarded information with the intent or knowledge that it could harm Canada,” Wark said. “So it’s a pretty minor charge that they’ve laid to begin with but there may be more.”

There have been other recent high-profile cases involving information breaches.

William Majcher, a resident of Hong Kong, is accused of using his knowledge and his extensive network of contacts in Canada to obtain intelligence or services to benefit the People’s Republic of China.

His lawyer has told a court in Longueuil, Que., where that case is being heard, that Majcher intends to plead not guilty to charges under the Security of Information Act of conspiracy and committing preparatory acts for the benefit of a foreign entity.

In November, a jury found Cameron Jay Ortis, a former RCMP intelligence official, guilty of three counts of violating the Security of Information Act and one count of attempting to do so. The jury also found Ortis guilty of breach of trust and fraudulent use of a computer system.

Last week, Ortis, who led an RCMP group that assembled classified information on cybercriminals, terror cells and transnational criminal networks, was sentenced to 14 years in prison.

He pleaded not guilty in court to all charges, including breaking the secrets law by revealing classified information to three individuals of interest to police in 2015 and trying to do so in a fourth instance.

The national force might need to do more work on safeguarding its information, said Wark.

“It has pretty lax security controls. It did an internal security review in 2019 in the aftermath of the Cameron Ortis arrest and discovered reams of problems in terms of its security practices,” he said.

In January, a 911 operator in Calgary was accused of intentionally pulling data from searches on individuals involved in organized crime then providing the information to others involved in that activity.

Mariana Buonincontri, 58, was charged with breach of trust, fraudulent use of a computer system and mischief related to computer data. She is to appear in court next month.

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