African Union Foils Attempt to Defraud $6 Million from Ethiopia Bank Accounts

The African Union (AU) announced on Tuesday that it had successfully thwarted an attempt to defraud the pan-continental body of more than $6 million from accounts held at Ethiopia’s main bank, the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE).
According to the AU, an individual who was not employed by the organization attempted to withdraw the funds through forged payment orders for construction and water drilling works.
The fraudulent activity was discovered by CBE staff and the AU’s finance department, who acted swiftly to prevent any funds from being withdrawn.
“We commend the vigilance and swift action of the CBE staff and our finance department who successfully thwarted the fraudulent attempt resulting in no funds being withdrawn, averting a potential loss and ensuring that the integrity of our financial controls and management remain intact,” the AU said in a statement.
The incident took place on April 15 at a CBE branch within the AU’s headquarters in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, it said.
While acknowledging the disconcerting nature of the attempted fraud, the AU stated that it had used the incident as an opportunity to review and strengthen its security measures.
“We are working closely with the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia to reinforce safeguards and implement enhanced protocols to ensure that fraudulent attempts to compromise the finances of the African Union are prevented.”
This incident comes on the heels of a technical glitch reported by the CBE in March, which resulted in fraudulent withdrawals totaling millions of dollars.
The bank said about $19.5 million was taken while some media reports put the losses as high as $100 million.
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