The Northern Territory news Tue 27 Mar 2018
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Community newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin; Australian newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin
News Corp Australia
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News Corp Australia
TUESDAY MARCH 27 2018 NEWS 09 V1 - NTNE01Z01MA A TERRITORY public servant who used his work computer to orchestrate an attempted cybercrime scam will spend at least six months behind bars. Best Okwa, 33, pleaded guilty earlier this month to two counts of obtaining benefit by deception, and was yesterday handed two years jail, suspended after six months served. Okwa, who was born in Nigeria and who was working Jail for cyber-scammer Public servant used work computer in orchestrated scam in IT at the Department of Chief Minister, set up a bank account using a Tasmanian mans drivers licence and Medicare card. He later set up a fake survey that claimed to be gauging customer satisfaction at the NT Motor Vehicles Registry, and which asked users to hand over their personal details with the promise of potential prizes. Okwa, a father-of-two, was unresponsive in the dock yesterday as Justice Jenny Blokland described his crimes as well organised, deliberate and elaborate. He will need to serve time in prison because of the deliberate breach of trust of a high order, Justice Blokland said. She rejected defence lawyer Shane McMasters suggestion Okwa could serve his time on home detention. Okwa scammed 68 peoples personal details in the short time before government IT security experts shut the survey down. They tracked it to Okwas work computer, which required a password to access. Okwa had planned to sell them for $20 each to an un known person he identified only as Charlie. Identity crimes are a matter of national and international concern, especially given the havoc they can cause to vulnerable persons, Justice Blokland said. She said Okwa co-operated with police after he was caught, but that he was either unable or unwilling to provide police with further detail about Charlie. Justice Blokland said Okwa was fortunate his crimes were detected early on, given he had plans to roll out the survey across Australia after testing it in the Territory. She said Okwas convictions meant he might never again work in a position of trust, and that the jail sentence she handed him would send a message to other would-be cybercriminals. CRAIG DUNLOP Charlotte off to Europe A BUDDING Territory history buff is off to Europe after winning a prestigious national history competition. Katherine High School Year 10 student Charlotte Pickering has been announced as the NT winner of the 2018 Simpson Prize and will travel to key World War I battlefields for Anzac Day commemorations. Palmerstons MacKillop Catholic College Year 10 student Caitlin Burt was the NT runner-up. CLP Senator Nigel Scullion congratulated the girls on their achievements. Their work was chosen from 1134 entries. Charlotte and Caitlins entries examined whether 1917 was the worst year of the Great War for Australia and Australians, he said. THE second round of school funding has been released in the Top End. Thirty-six government schools and nine non-government schools will receive $300,000 through the Building Better Schools program. WILL ZWAR Sanderson Middle School has upgraded its science facilities from funding received through the grant program. Sanderson Principal Liz Veel said the science facility would allow students to participate in a much wider range of projects. The grant upgraded the schools existing labs. Its really freshened the schools whole approach to science, she said. The students and the teachers are all excited to do the new experiments weve been working on delivering more STEM-based equipment into the school and the science labs, and its all working now. Speaking at Sanderson Middle School, Education Minister Eva Lawler said the program would help schools and their communities develop. When we came to government, we said every school in the Northern Territory, government and non-government school, would get $300,000 that they could work with their community to identify the needs for, she said. Its lovely at Sanderson to see the new science labs are finished. Schools can now make submissions for round three of the program in October this year. Sanderson Middle School students Rosie Wilfred, Tristina Winunguj and Jaylene Baker in one of their schools upgraded science labs Picture: JUSTIN KENNEDY Funding boost looms for Top End schools Aussies turn back on shots ONE in two Aussie adults are planning to skip a flu shot this year, shows new research released today. The Pharmacy Guild of Australia study revealed most Australian adults were unaware of some potential impacts of the flu. On average, about 3000 Australians die from the flu each year. Guild national president George Tambassis said many Australian adults were misinformed about the seriousness of the flu and its highly infectious nature. The flu virus can affect anyone, even the fit and healthy, so your best defence ... is vaccination, he said. Last years record-breaking flu season saw more than 249,000 reported infections nationwide. More countries sign up for Games FOUR more countries have committed to competing in the Arafura Games, which are set to be held in 2019. Minister for the Arafura Games Ken Vowles said the Federated States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, Solomon Islands and Tuvalu have officially signed up. More than 12 months out from the Arafura Games returning, we now have eight countries who will be sending athletes and support crews to the Territory, he said. The latest four join Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines and Timor-Leste. The Arafura Games, which were scrapped by the previous CLP Government, will return from April 27 to May 4 next year. Were really starting to see things take off now, with more and more countries coming on board, Mr Vowles said. Good sporting connections are closely linked to trade opportunities, so the relationships we build now through bringing back the Arafura Games will support our economy into the future. Mr Vowles also urged Territorians to sign up as volunteers for the Games. We have more than 100 people signed up already and want to see hundreds more, he said. Pushing to keep womens space open THE Alice Springs Womens Shelter is looking at all options to keep its womens space open beyond April. The space operates as a drop-in centre where women can wash, use the toilet, nap, and get a clean outfit. Chief executive Di Gipey said up to 30 women visit the space a day. Ms Gipey said the womens shelter would love to remain in the space, but it would cost around $40,000 to operate it for another year. Weve been paying the rent using one-off grants ... thats been fantastic but now we have no money to keep the place going, she said. An average woman might come in here for some clothing, she might come because she needs the sink to wash because she wants to change into those new clothes, and she might come for a cup of tea and a chat with the volunteers. Ms Gipey said the volunteer-run space had a positive effect on the women who came through the doors. We call it a place of dignity its important for people to know that someone cares about them enough to do this without an expectation of anything in return, she said.
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