All fingers point to Sibongile Mani

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The probe continues

SIMTEMBILE MGIDI

PRELIMINARY investigations by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) and Walter Sisulu University (WSU), following the erroneous payment of R14-million to WSU student Sibongile Mani, have found that none of its employees was involved in the payment.

Sibongile Mani, allegedly spent over R800 000 of R14.1-million of NSFAS money which was erroneously loaded into her voucher card from card company IntelliMali.

There were mixed reactions from people of South Africa as some people believed she was not the only person at fault.

According to a media statement released by WSU, a meeting was held between NSFAS, WSU and Intellimali to decide on a way forward. The three parties confirmed that it had been established that the funds belonged to the university and not NSFAS as initially believed.

IntelliMali decided to reimburse WSU the full misappropriated amount by the student, from its own company finances, the statement indicated.

WSU Vice Chancellor, Professor Rob Midgley expressed gratitude that IntelliMali had taken full responsibility for the error and reimbursed the loss.

Sibonhgile’s grandmother, Nombulelo Mani, 67, in an interview with The Rep said she was disappointed that her grand daughter had not built her a house although she had so much money. She also pleaded that her daughter be forgiven and allowed to continue studying.

A case of theft has been opened against Mani by IntelliMali and Mani is allegedly cooperating with law enforcement authorities in their investigation.

The media statement indicated that InteliMali had appointed a credible audit firm to institute a forensic investigation into the matter. No steps had been taken by WSU against the student. The university was opting to await the outcomes of the forensic investigation before considering any further steps. Counselling was to be given to the student.

IntelliMali, NSFAS and WSU indicated that a forensic investigation would help them to understand what had happened and that all respective parties committed themselves to participating with the process and implementing the findings.

IntelliMali CEO Michael Ansell said that no other student at WSU has been affected by the error and all remaining student allowances would continue to be managed efficiently by IntelliMali.

“When IntelliMali receives an upload via email, the allowances are checked by the Uploads team who are dedicated to this task within the company.

“Once all the checks have been completed, the allowances are uploaded by a separate team in the finance department. These allowances are in the form of a ‘credit’ and no money is deposited into a bank account or given to a student in the form of cash. The allowance is only made available within our ‘closed-loop’ system environment” said Ansell.

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