From the blog

ETHIOPIA: Bank Recovers $10m Withdrawn Following Technical Glitch

Ethiopia’s largest bank says it has recovered almost three-quarters of the $14m it lost in a glitch that allowed customers withdraw more money than they had in their bank accounts.

Abe Sano, head of the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE) said on Tuesday about $10m has been recovered as thousands of customers returned the cash voluntarily.

Sano warned those who had not yet return the money, most of which was withdrawn by university students, will face criminal charges.

On 16 March, news of the glitch spread across universities – largely via messaging apps and phone calls – and long lines were seen at campus cash machines.

The bank has never explained exactly what the problem was, but it said the glitch was not the result of a cyber-attack and that customers should not be worried as their personal accounts were intact.

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

“There is no way that they can escape because they are digital transactions, and they are our customers. We know them. They are traceable and they are legally accountable for what they did,” he said.

Initial reports said that more than $40m was lost in the technical glitch. A total of 490,000 transactions were made before CBE realised there was a problem.

More than 38 million people hold accounts at the CBE, which was established 82 years ago.