By Anathi Wulushe

Appearing at the fore of Magistrate Twanette Olivier in the East London Regional Court on Monday, Walter Sisulu University (WSU) Accounting student Sibongile Mani (31) was found guilty of theft in connection of R14 million which was mistakenly​ paid into her account by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) in 2017.

Mani was meant to receive R1400 food allowance from NSFAS but what is described as a “Technical Glitch”​ by Intellimali director Roy Jones saw R14 million transferred erroneously into her account.

The 31 year old spent R818​ 000 of the R14 million within a space of 73 days, spending it on various things such as alcohol, cigarettes, electrical appliances, bedding, toys, and gift cards.

In 2018 Mani was arrested by the Hawks and a case of theft was opened by Intellimali.

Following several testimonies by State witnesses, Magistrate Olivier found Mani guilty of stealing R818 000 of the funds and failing to report the error, ruling that Mani knew what she was doing was wrong , dismissing her defence that she did not know terms and conditions of her the loan agreement with NSFAS.

“These actions speak of someone whom the court finds knows the system, how it is implemented and most specifically how it may be bypassed” Olivier said.

Olivier added that Mani orchestrated the theft and her actions were not of a person who lacked knowledge of what she was doing.

Sentencing will be on March 8.

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