Commercial bank of Ethiopia Digitizing Legal Documents

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The country’s giant commercial bank of Ethiopia (CBE) signed a memorandum of understanding with the Federal Document Authentication and Registration Agency (FDARA) regarding an online system that enables fast assurance of the power of attorney documents. 

Ato  Kidane Mengesha. A/Chief International Banking Officer stated, “ the bank has over 31 million customers, and a great amount of cash flow takes place. We have been struggling with forgery documents regarding power of attorney (POA), and the manual procedure,  it is a big concern.”

The online system integrates all the information of the attorney and gives access to the bank, getting rid of all the hard paper and digitalizing the information. Once the information is registered every customer has a unique identification code, which only the individual can access.

“Once the customer consents for the bank to access it, it provides a QR code, even networks are down in banks, it can be accessed by QR code scanner applications, and the service is free,” mentioned Ato Muluken Amare, General Director at the federal office. 

FDARA has been using the online system for 3 years now, applicants can apply online and within 15 to 20 minutes the process will be done. 

The agency gives 25 different services regarding document authentication and registration, and 54 pc of it regarding power of attorney serving around 6100 customers per day in all its 14 branches located in Addis and one in Dire Dawa.  

One of the main concerns of an online system is the strength of its security, “We have in house tech guys that work intensively on the security and we are working with INSA” he added

“One of the benefits for the online system is that it will reduce the rate of forging documents”

Due to forgery of power of attorney documents in the banks, there are several cases regarding allegations of forgery debited money from the accounts of customers. 

“It’s a legal issue and more precisely the real problem lies on the identification card, anybody can forge an ID in this country, and the main element we require is ID and Signature.  the loopholes are a lot especially when the stakes are high,” mentioned Ato Lemma Mulugeta one of the legal team leaders at FDARA. 

“It will definitely reduce the level of forgery documents but it still requires a hard work of improved system in the country,” he added 

Currently, CBE is the first customer to officially start to use this system.” the integration system is completed with the other 17 private banks and, we are waiting on agreements.” Ato Muluken mentioned.