News: Commercial Bank of Ethiopia recovers 78% of 801.4 million birr lost in system glitch: President Abe Sano

Abe Sano, president of CBE (Photo: CBE)

Addis Abeba – Abe Sano, President of the state-owned Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE), announced this morning that the maximum amount of money vulnerable to theft during the recent “system glitch” is estimated at 801.4 million birr.

According to Abe, 25,761 of the bank’s customers were involved in withdrawing cash from the bank’s ATMs and making digital transfers.

The bank’s president revealed that, as of yesterday, CBE had successfully recovered 78% (662.9 million birr) of the lost funds. The bank expects, 118 million birr of the remaining amount, which was transferred to other banks to be recouped this week. CBE has requested these banks to freeze the funds, Abe noted.

Within a day of the incident, the bank reclaimed 44.6 million birr from 10,727 customers who had sufficient funds in their accounts, Abe reported. Continuing their efforts the following day, the bank managed to recover 205.8 million birr from 15,008 customers, despite their account balances being insufficient.

According to the president, 9,281 bank customers voluntarily returned the full amount they withdrew, totaling 223.4 million birr, while 5,160 customers returned a portion of the withdrawn funds.

Meanwhile, the bank stated that 567 clients are currently unable to return a total of 9.8 million birr they withdrew, either partially or in full. Abe said the bank will be posting the names of these individuals along side their bank details and wait until Saturday after which it will move on to pursue legal means to ensure accountability.

Abe expressed the bank’s determination to return all of its money. “The total amount remaining (178 million birr) is not significant amount for the bank. But, if this money is not fully recouped, it sends the wrong message,” he asserted.

He mentioned that the investigation into the system glitch is ongoing, revealing that the issue was caused by the system reversing transactions carried out during the period.

On 16 March 2024, customers, mainly university students, were able to withdraw cash while others digitally transferred large sums of money due to a “glitch” caused by a “system upgrade” implemented hours before the incident.

The bank said it has been a primary target of entities seeking to attack Ethiopia for economic and political reasons, reporting to have successfully foiling nearly 28,000 cyber-attack attempts since 2022. AS

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