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Leaked letter reveals Transnational Bank was hacked – Part 1 – Kenyan Business Feed

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Sammy Lang’at, CEO Transnational Bank Limited

Today morning, a chanced publishing about the woes at Transnational Bank Limited brought more revelations as an anonymous source sent what reapply happened at Transnational Bank.

Nigeria’s biggest lender, Access Bank completed the acquisition of Transnational bank in late January 2020. The bank, ranked in the third tier of Kenyan banks has only 28 branches across the country.

It was started by former President Daniel Moi in 1984 as a non-bank, deposit-taking institution that also provided hire purchase and other loans. It financiers, in the beginning, were people who had deep access to the public coffers and would help themselves to it with reckless, even wanton abandon, if you like.

WikiLeaks, a London-based organisation, published a 2007 report in which forensic auditors Kroll Inc linked the bank to Sh21.4 billion ($200 million) money laundering.

“An estimated $200 million of Abacha money was laundered through Kenya, using Transnational Bank and its Nostro accounts held in Frankfurt and other jurisdictions. This money was parked in off-shore accounts,” the leaked Kroll report said.

Kroll report, though should be made public, has never been.

CBK might have lied

KenyanBusinessFeed.Com can confirm that Transanational Bank was hacked in early March 2020.

“Reference is made to the letter dated 04th May 2020 which required the Bank to provide more information on the IFRS 9 system crash that occurred on 10th March 2020″, a letter from Transnational Bank to Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) states in part.

When Nigerian lender came looking for expansion, it looked to the most vibrant country in terms of financial services, some bordering on criminal; with CBK’s consent

Just to touch in brief, the recent scandals involving the stealing of billions of cash at the National Youth Service (NYS), had the following banks punished for handling laundered cash; they are: Standard Chartered Kenya , Equity , Diamond Trust , Co-operative Bank , and KCB Group.

They got off with a slap on the wrist by ‘bribing’ the state, paying the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji a total of Sh385 million to save its executives from criminal prosecution over NYS dealings.

Did CBK hide the ‘weak systems’ threat from Herbert Wigwe, the founder and Current CEO of Access Bank?

An audit report prepared by the firm Ernst & YouErnst & Young LLP on the information and communication technology controls of Transnational Bank, points to ‘inappropriate access to IT administrator role meaning that ‘business users had access to administrative IT rights and could create new users’, another weakness just to touch a few, was Lack of role monitoring of users and user activity in systems, System issue with reset accounts on Chequepoint Truncation System etc.

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Patrick Njoroge, Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) Governor. Was he aware about the system deficiencies at Transnational Bank Limited? How many bank systems are in dire straits and Partick Njoroge is silent on that? Kenya banks lose billions to hackers every year. That number keeps on rising.

In the aforementioned letter, which shows that CBK was fuming over Transnational Banks lack of compliance with prudential guidelines.

The banks CEO Sammy Lang’at writes, ‘The server crash was caused by a faulty SATA Hard Drive assembly that led to the corruption of the Operating System hosting the IFRS 9 Model application. The service was restored by reinstallation of the Operating System on another server platform and subsequent rebuild of the IFRS 9 application from the backup images”.

The bank assures CBK that it has a good back up system and that ‘no data was lost’.

“The Bank has a Backup of the IFRS application database and procedures stored in form of Oracle Archive logs on another Server platform. No data was lost despite the damage to the Primary server hosting the IFRS 9 application”, Lang’at writes.

Lang’at further explains that the reason for the delay in restoring service was occasioned by the numerous software installations and updates that needed to be undertaken to return the banking platform to health.

“The restoration process took five days as the Rebuild Process on another Server Platform involved Windows Operating System Installation, Windows Updates Download and Installation, Database Image Replication, Database Restoration, IFRS 9 Application Restoration, System and User Acceptance Tests”, he concludes.

Before we finished writing this article, Transnational bank which had taken heat in the best part of today morning had already assured its clients that the system was now back, it doesn’t mention any hacking taking place. The PR firm running their media department must get back into the drawing board as in part two, we showcase what the hackers demanded and what Transnational Bank did.

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Kenyan Business Feed is the top Kenyan Business Blog. We share news from Kenya and across the region. To contact us with any alert, please email us to [email protected]


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