Sibongile Mani. Picture: SUPPLIED
Sibongile Mani. Picture: SUPPLIED

A student at Walter Sisulu University appeared in the East London Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday after she accidentally received R14.1m from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) in June 2017.

Sibongile Mani was arrested on Tuesday morning by the Serious Commercial Crimes Unit after having been asked to hand herself over at the Hawks’ Eastern Cape provincial office in East London.

It is alleged that during June last year‚ Mani inadvertently received millions from the NSFAS‚ and spent just more than R810‚000 of it on personal items over a period of three months. The anomaly was only detected by the scheme three months after the money was transferred.

The company tasked with the administration of NSFAS’s food and book allowances‚ IntelliMali‚ indicated at the time that they would lay charges.

From June 1 2017‚ when the money from the NSFAS mistakenly landed in her account‚ Mani‚ a second-year accountancy student‚ spent an average of R11‚000 a day, on expensive weaves, cellphones and whisky for herself and her friends.

Mani’s political opponents — members of the South African Students Congress (Sasco) — grew suspicious and she eventually let the cat out of the bag.

In August last year‚ Samkelo Mqhayi‚ deputy branch secretary of Sasco and Student Representative Council (SRC) student support officer‚ said he was the one who outed Mani‚ who was a branch secretary of Pasma‚ the student wing of the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC).

Mqhayi said suspicions grew after a receipt from Spar was leaked showing a balance of just more R13.6m.

Mani was released on a warning and is expected to appear in court again on July 2.

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