13 September 2017

South Africa: R14m Student Blunder - Parliament Seeks Answers

Photo: Supplied
Collage of photos featuring Simbongikle Mani and her purchases after she received R14,000,000 in her IntelliMali account from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme.

The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), Walter Sisulu University and Intellimali will appear before the parliamentary committee on higher education and training on Wednesday to explain how R14.1m was paid out to one of the university's students.

Sibongile Mani was due R1 400 as a recipient of a NSFAS loan, but reportedly received R14.1m instead. Financial aid transactions are processed by Intellimali on behalf of the university.

Mani allegedly spent R818 000 before the mistake was discovered.

The balance of the money has been retrieved. Mani is being held liable for the outstanding amount.

The three organisations appointed an audit firm to institute a forensic investigation into the matter.

"We believe that the forensic investigation is the only way to get to the bottom of the matter and have committed to participating fully with the process," NSFAS spokesperson Kagisho Mamabolo said in the joint statement at the beginning of September.

"Upon the conclusion of investigation, the parties have committed to implementing the findings and will be sharing them with all relevant stakeholders."

Extra zeroes being investigated

Mamabolo said Intellimali had reimbursed the university the full amount spent by the student, from its own company finances.

Intellimali previously said it had opened a case of theft against Mani and that it was cooperating with law enforcement authorities in their investigation.

CEO Michael Ansell said the student allegedly "misappropriated" the money when it was deposited into her account.

He claimed that the figures for intended amount of R1 400 had been checked before the money was deposited.

His company is also investigating where the extra zeroes came from.

Source: News24

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