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HomeEthiopian NewsEthiopia's state bank system compromised for hours ; loss undisclosed 

Ethiopia’s state bank system compromised for hours ; loss undisclosed 

Commercial Bank of Ethiopia is one of the oldest government institutions in the country and used to have reputation for service excellence and productivity


There are reports that have been circulating on social media platforms indicating that one of Ethiopia’s state owned bank, commercial bank was compromised for hours on Friday night between 12 a.m. and 3 a.m. 

Users were reportedly able to transfer a huge sum of money they do not have in their accounts and also access ATM machines to withdraw money when they do not have money in their account. The banking online system was affected the most. 

Elias Meseret, Ethiopian journalist who worked for the Associated Press, shared on his social media page information he got from individuals who have witnessed it. 

“Many people , especially university students have taken money from the commercial bank of Ethiopia ATP or have transferred money online,” reads the translation of part of the message he shared on social media.  It is indicated that students were able to transfer hundreds of thousands of Ethiopian Birr. 

Based on information shared on social media, the incident mostly happened at universities. A notice purportedly posted in Addis Ababa University Technology Faculty and Jimma University ( in Amharic language) warns students to return the money they have transferred or withdrawn (“knowingly” or “unknowingly”) and that there will be consequences for those who are not doing so. 

Commercial Bank has not confirmed the incident openly. However, it has issued about five notices in less than 24 hours.  It announced that the bank has experienced systemic problems at branch level. Mobile banking, internet banking and CBE service were affected by the systemic problem, according to the update from the bank shared on its social media page. 

“Due to systemic problems, branch level banking services, internet banking, mobile banking as well as CBE banking service have stopped. We ask your patience as we are working to restore the services. we apologize for the inconvenience,”  the bank said in a message that confirmed that there were systemic problems. 

Commercial Bank of Ethiopia _ System compromised
Notices that are said to be posted at Jimma University and Addis Ababa University Technology faculty in connection with the incident in Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (Photo : Social media)

The bank also said that information circulating on social media regarding the incident is incorrect. Having advised that the ATM system is restored and that it is working to restore digital banking, the bank said “…on the other hand, we have learned that false information is circulating on social media because of the temporary banking inconvenience.”   A little later, the bank announced that all the services that were experiencing a problem have been restored. 

The incident has become a talking point among Ethiopians in social media. The bank does not seem to be willing to admit the problem related to the illegal transfer of money in an apparent move to protect the image of the government whose legitimacy crisis has been worsening from time to time. Last week, the Ethiopian airlines was criticized over a corrupt practice at the airport involving immigration and customs officials. The airline has announced that it is investigating it.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s administration has proved incompetent in a range of areas including protecting the security of Ethiopians. Recently, his government announced plans to privatize the banking sector in the country. 


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  1. 1. Elias Meseret (of Tplf-era) has not always been a reliable informant.
    2. This news could have come from banks in competition with CBE.
    3. Whoever was engaged in such crime (if at all true) could be tracked down.
    4. Remember the stupidity of the news: students transferred $$ into accounts that did not have $$ in them! How did $$ get in there? Are account owners going to say, It is a miracle, I just don’t know how it happened?!
    5. Of course, in line with Borkena’s strategy, the final goal is to condemn Abiy’s Admin, that is, “Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s administration has proved incompetent in a range of areas including protecting the security of Ethiopians.”

  2. ”There are reports that have been circulating on social media platforms” 🙂 very funny way to start guessing wrong… People who have no knowledge of how exactly a Bank works, or how do Bank’s back office work are trying to explain the recent issue 🙂 just calm down


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