By Aretha Linden –
Payment administrator IntelliMali has reimbursed Walter Sisulu University (WSU) the full amount misappropriated by NSFAS “student millionaire” Sibongile Mani out of its own pocket.
IntelliMali has also roped in the services of a forensic investigator to probe how the R14-million ended up in the account of one student.
The company responsible for administering state loans and funds to students, is at the centre of the row over the money paid into Mani’s student voucher card.
Mani blew more than R818000 of her NSFAS windfall on parties, alcohol, designer clothing, air tickets, iPhone 7 cellphones for her and her friends and Peruvian weaves – all in just 73 days.
In a joint statement, with WSU and NSFAS, IntelliMali announced it had appointed an audit firm to carry out a forensic investigation into the matter.
According to the statement issued at the weekend, the university was grateful for the repayment by IntelliMali.
“WSU vice-chancellor Professor Rob Midgley expressed gratitude that IntelliMali has taken full responsibility for the error and took steps to reimburse the R818000 loss.”
The three parties announced that following preliminary assessments, NSFAS and WSU could confirm that no employee from their side had been found to have been involved in the erroneous crediting of the student’s IntelliCard account.
This left IntelliMali as the only party to still clear its staff from wrongdoing.
“IntelliMali, NSFAS and WSU 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.
“Upon the conclusion of investigation, the parties have committed to implementing the findings and will be sharing them with all relevant stakeholders.”
The three parties assured South Africans that no public funds had been lost in the blunder.
“Preliminary investigations by the service provider have established these funds belonged to the university, and not NSFAS as initially believed.”
The university confirmed that it had taken no steps against the the 27-year-old accounting student.
“The university has opted to await the outcomes of the forensic investigation before considering further steps. The university is also providing counselling to the student to ensure she continues with her studies.”
IntelliMali has opened a case of theft against Mani.