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Student jailed 5 years for spending $1 million credited to her bank account by mistake


A South African lady named Sibongile Mani is to spend the next five years of her life behind bars.

She was sentenced to five years in prison for going on a spending spree  after erroneously receiving nearly $1m (£700,000) in her bank account.

She was found guilty of theft and jailed on Wednesday, March 30, 2022.

It would be recalled that Ms. Mani received 14 million rands instead of 1,400 rands that she was entitled to in 2017.

Immediately after receiving the money, she went on a spending spree, the court was told during her trial.

African Entertainment understands that the money in question came from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) through a payment services company, Intellimali.

The money was credited to her bank account while she was a student at Walter Sisulu University.

Instead of reporting the error in payment, she went on a spending spree, the court heard.

Prosecutors told the court that she started spending the money within two hours of receiving it.

As at the time her bank account was blocked, she had spent about $70,000 in 48 places within 73 days across South Africa.

African Entertainment understands that she spent the $70,000 on cellphones, weaves, alcohol, bedding, gift cards and luxury goods among others.

While sentencing, the court observed that it was remarkable that she had managed to spend so much money per day across the country.

According to the court, many students would have been affected had Intellimali, the company that distributed NSFAS funds, not paid back the money she had spent.

The trial judge observed that  her spending was inspired by “greed”.

The judge also dismissed the argument that she was a victim of an impoverished background.

Meanwhile, her lawyer has signaled that they will appeal  against the conviction and sentencing, which will be heard on April 11, 2022.


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