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Ethiopia’s state owned-commercial Bank says it has recovered over 99 percent of illegally withdrawn money 

Commercial Bank of Ethiopia
From SM / Resized


Toronto – Commercial Bank of Ethiopia on Friday said it has recovered 99.13 percent of money illegally withdrawn during what was described first as “system glitch” in March 2024. 

In a social media update, it said “CBE has recovered 99.13%, or Birr 794.43 million, of the total illegally withdrawn money of Birr 801.4 million in relation to the IT system upgrade incident on March 16, 2024. ” 

Furthermore, the bank said that “The remaining 0.87% of the money, or Birr 6.99 million, is expected to be recovered shortly.” 

In a move to subject clients , who were involved in the “illegal” withdrawal of money, to public shaming, the Bank had released names and photographs in public places and on the Bank’s social media accounts. The practice drew extensive criticism from activists and rights groups. 

“All previously posted identities and photographs have been removed from the bank’s social media accounts since the majority of the people whose names and images were placed there have paid for the money that was taken inappropriately,” said the bank in the update it released on Monday. 

On the night of March 16, 2024, the Bank’s online system and ATM machines were allowing clients, for several hours, to withdraw money they did not have in their account.  According to reports at the time, university students in the capital Addis Ababa and Jimma – among others – were mostly involved in the “illegal withdrawal and transfer” of money.  

Initially, there were reports that  the bank lost billions of birr due to the problem. But the bank claimed that the amount of money lost to illegal transactions was only 800 million Ethiopian Birr. 

What exactly happened to the system was also a point of controversy. First it was reported as a cyber attack. But later, the bank reversed the narrative saying the problem was created in the process of modernizing the system.  

Information Network Security Agency, Ethiopia’s government entity working on network security, said it launched an investigation into the glitch and ruled that “it was not a cyber attack” related incident. According to the organization, “there was a missing element in the source code” of software that was being upgraded. 

Commercial Bank of Ethiopia is the largest state owned bank in Ethiopia with nearly 2000 branches across the country.  


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  1. Good job! Bravo! Bravo!! Bravo!!! It is doubly pleasing that none of the pilfered money had ended up in the hands of those bigots and connivers roaming the wilderness of Oromia and Amhara regions these days.


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