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Ethiopia’s largest Commercial Bank loses millions as technical glitch allows excessive withdrawals 

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Ethiopia

The largest commercial bank in Ethiopia, Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE) recently lost millions of dollars when a technical glitch in its system allowed customers to withdraw more money than they had in their accounts.

According to the BBC, the commercial bank is scrambling to recoup the millions lost due to the technical glitch that allowed excessive withdrawals by bank customers.

An estimated $40m was withdrawn or transferred to other banks within several hours of the technical glitch before the bank could freeze all transactions.

The Bank president Abe Sano told journalists that a Bulk of the money was withdrawn from state-owned CBE mostly by students.

News about the technical glitch spread amongst students through messaging apps and phone calls as long queues formed at various campus ATM outlets.

According to the BBC, students in Western Ethiopia were seen on various campuses withdrawing large amounts of money before the police came to stop them.

Another student, at Dilla University in southern Ethiopia, said a number of his peers retrieved money from CBE between midnight and 02:00 local time.

Ethiopia’s Central Bank which serves as the financial sector’s governing body confirmed the development in a statement where it stated that the glitch occurred during maintenance and inspection activities.

The statement focused on the aftermath of the technical glitch when services were interrupted as a result of CBE freezing all transactions. It did not mention the withdrawal of money by customers.

Mr. Abe Sano assured customers of the safety of their money and their accounts, stating that the Bank did not witness a cyber-attack and the amount of money lost is minimal to the bank’s total assets.

At least three universities have released statements advising students to return any money not belonging to them that they may have taken from CBE.

The bank president assured the students that there would be no criminal charges against those returning the money.

It remains unclear how successful the bank has been in recouping the millions withdrawn by its customers.

 

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