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Ethiopia’s State Bank gives ultimatum to clients who exploited system “glitch” to withdraw money they do not have 

Commercial bank of Ethiopia _ glitch
A seemingly Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE) client withdraws money from CBE ATM machine. (Photo credit : Semongna/ file)


Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE) on Thursday announced an ultimatum-like statement to its clients who are said to have exploited a systemic “glitch” to transfer or withdraw money they do not have in their account. 

The Bank said that those clients have until Saturday, March 23, to return the money to the nearest  CBE branch in their neighborhood.  

The bank has announced three actions to be taken against those who fail to return the money. One of them is to collaborate with law enforcement bodies and release their names in the areas where they live. 

The second intended action, if the first one fails to bring about the desired result, releasing the pictures of the “suspects” through the media until legal action is taken. 

The last action is working with law enforcement to bring suspects before the law to face criminal and civil charges. 

On Thursday afternoon, the bank announced on its social media page payment digital payment methods in addition to appearing in branches in person. 

“Although some individuals are appearing in the nearest branch of our bank to return the money they inappropriately took, in accordance with our call, until Saturday Megabit 14 [March 23], the importance of providing alternative ways of returning it is found essential… therefore in addition to returning at branches, you can return it using digital banking and directly return it to our account,” the statement said.  

Earlier this week, CBE announced that it has assigned a Task Force to recover the money it lost to what it called “illegal transactions. 

In a press briefing on March 18, the President of the Bank, Abe Sano, announced that there were more than 490,000 transactions in a matter of hours when the bank experienced what it described as a “system glitch.” It said that it was in the process of improving the banking system when the problem happened – which the president described as “missing code.” The incident happened on Saturday. 

The bank has not yet officially announced the amount of money it lost as a result of the incident. Some sources – like Ethiopian Media Service –  estimate the loss to be anywhere between five and ten billion Ethiopian birr. Other sources estimated the amount to be 6 billion Ethiopian Birr. 

The Commercial Bank of Ethiopia has confirmed a report that it was mostly university students who were involved in withdrawing and transferring money they did not have in their accounts. 


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  1. Heads should role for this one with the management staff of this historic and huge bank. There should not be an excuse trying the pass the buck. It rests on the incompetence of the management. They should know the fact that thanks to the persistence indoctrination of the society by the commies since the 1970’s our legendary social values and morality have been eroded from a large portion of the community. The mentality now is if that money is not yours, take it! Management should have known that and an airtight mitigating protection should have been in place already. These clueless management staff still don’t have any idea how much money was pilfered, for crying out loud!!! Is your system still running on i386?

  2. I demand this president of the bank submit his resignation letter pronto. This happens under his watch and the buck stop at his office for not being ahead of scammers. He now tells us how many egregious transactions were made in a very short of time and he still can not tell us how much money was pilfered. The bank management staff should be overhauled. Get him and his entourage out of there. Like the saying goes during similar situation in corporate America/world: Blow him out of there!!!


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