A theft of greed not need has landed student Sibongile Mani with five years’ imprisonment when she failed to report that R14 million was accidentally transferred into her account.
Walter Sisulu University (WSU) student Sibongile Mani was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment for theft when R14 million was accidentally transferred to her account by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) in 2017.
Mani received a food allowance from the NSFAS; however, she was only entitled to R1 400 and failed to report when R14 million was incorrectly transferred into her account. So instead, she embarked on a spending spree. Within hours, Mani had spent more than R20,000, and she had splurged more than R800,000 before her account was frozen. This spending spree landed her five years in jail.
Will Sibongile be out on parole?
After serving one-third of the five-year sentence, Mani will be eligible for parole and could finish the rest of the five years under correctional supervision. The court considered that Mani was a first-time offender; however, “The only appropriate sentence is direct imprisonment, and you are therefore sentenced to five years’ imprisonment,” said judge Olivier.
Responding to the defence’s argument that the court should not end Mani’s bright future, Olivier told Mani: “You, and only yourself, made that decision on 1 June 2017; you did so repeatedly, for 73 consecutive days, numerous times per day.”
“You were rushing against time to spend the maximum amount before it’s spoilt or brought to [an end]. So you took those conscious decisions every day, not the court,” said Olivier.
Olivier said 585 students who relied on NSFAS funds to study at WSU would have been unfair if IntelliMali, a Cape Town-based company in charge of allocating NSFAS funds to students, had not paid back the money she used to WSU.
She also noted the money was “not spent on essential items to stay alive. It was inspired by greed, not need”.
So what did Sibongile Mani spent the money on?
It was discovered that she spent over R800,000 on alcohol, cigarettes, blankets, clothes for men, jackets, handbags, furniture, beauty products, and groceries at a supermarket in a period of two months.
She also reportedly spent the money at 48 retail stores in different towns.
As a result, Mani was arrested in May 2018 by the Serious Commercial Crime Unit of the Hawks after IntelliMali opened a case of theft. She was charged with failing to report the error and embarked on a spending spree, blowing more than R800 000 in 73 days. The State charged that between 1 June, when the money landed in her account, to 13 August, when NSFAS found out about the error, she had spent an average of R11 000 per day. R11 000 per day that did not belong to her.
Did Sibongile Mani killed hersef?
No, Sibongile Mani is alive and well, is just that she is now behind bars. There is a fake headline on social media claiming that Sibongile commited suicide, yet there are no formal reports of Sibongile’s death or funeral atleast.
news24, 2022. Sibongile Mani sentenced to 5 years’ imprisonment for theft of NSFAS funds. [Online]
Available at: https://www.news24.com/news24/southafrica/news/breaking-sibongile-mani-sentenced-to-5-years-imprisonment-for-theft-of-nsfas-funds-20220330
Times Live, 2022. LISTEN | Sibongile Mani sentenced to five years in jail for her spending spree with NSFAS cash. [Online]
Available at: https://www.timeslive.co.za/news/south-africa/2022-03-30-sibongile-mani-sentenced-to-5-years-in-jail-for-her-spending-spree-with-nsfas-cash/