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Monday, November 29, 2021

Student Who Received NSFAS Millions Back In Court, Maintains Her Innocence

THE theft case against former Walter Sisulu University student Sibongile Mani resumed at East London Regional Court on Tuesday.

Sibongile Mani maintained her innocence, despite admitting she spent a portion of the R14 million credited into her account.

Mani stands accused of theft for spending a portion of the millions credited into her student account on 1 June 2017.

Mani’s lawyer argues that she never intentionally tried to deprive the NSFAS of money. 

The State says she knew she was not entitled to the money – but chose to blow R820 000 in 73 days.

The State charges that Mani failed to report the error and embarked on a spending spree.   

According to the State, between 1 June, when the money landed in her account, until 13 August, when NSFAS uncovered the error, she had spent an average of R11 000 per day.

The money was transferred by Cape Town-based company Intellimali, which was contracted by WSU to disburse funds to its students.

The then accounting student was due to receive her monthly R1 400 food allowance, but because of what was described in court as a “ridiculous and absurd technical glitch”, R14 million was credited to her account. 

On Tuesday, the State prosecutor in the four-year trial, advocate Luthando Makoyi, said Mani had admitted to many aspects of the indictment.

During closing arguments, Makoyi told the magistrate, Twanet Olivier, that Mani admitted she spent the money at 48 merchants in the Eastern Cape, Johannesburg and Pretoria.

Makoyi added that Mani should be convicted of theft, saying she knew the money was not hers, but spent it.

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