Student splashed out on jets, parties & clothes after £850k grant mix-up

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A STUDENT splashed out on private jets, parties and designer clothes after a staggering £850,000 was paid into her account.

The costly mixup happened when Sibongile Mani, 27 received the whopping sum instead of the usual £85 monthly food grant.

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Sibongile Mani splurged a fortune on parties, haircuts and designer clothes

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Mani went on a spending spree after she was paid £850,000 by mistakeCredit: Twitter

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She was caught when a Spar receipt showed 13.6million rand in her food accountCredit: Twitter

The accountancy student at the Walter Sisulu University in Mthatha, South Africa, received a monthly allowance to spend on food and books.

But when the company administering the financial aid accidentally sent her £850,000, she went on an epic spending splurge.

Suddenly Mani bought luxury flights and designer outfits, treated her friends to brand new iPhones, and threw parties with £50-a-go bottles of whisky.

Over 73 days she splurged a total of £50,000.

Suspicions were raised when the student hired private jets for her and her friends to attend parties across the country in 2017.

Mani was eventually caught when a receipt from a local Spar shop popped up showing that she had £810,000 in her account.

Samkelo Mqhayi, deputy branch secretary of the South African Students Congress, reported her to the National Students’ Financial Aids Scheme.

He told Herald Live at the time: “She threw surprise birthday parties for her friends and showered them with expensive gifts and flew them to events where she bought the best seats.

“When the SPAR receipt was leaked showing a balance of R13.6-million (£810,000) in her account I called NSFAS and they checked their records and confirmed that the initial amount was R14-million (£850,000)”.

A fellow student said: “She became very glamorous in beautiful dresses with all the accessories and we thought she must have won the lottery.  She must have thought she had won it too when she got that cash!”

Mani was finally arrested in May 2018 by the Serious Commercial Crime Unit of the Hawks.

She was accused of failing to report the mistake and spending a whopping amount of cash in 73 days.

East London Regional Court Magistrate Twanette Olivier who found Mani guilty told her the spending “was inspired by greed not need”.

She said: “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].

“Those were conscious decisions you took every day, not the court.”

Mani was sentenced to five years in prison after being found guilty of theft.

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Mani splurged on designer clothes and a new phoneCredit: Facebook

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The student would hire private jets to travel across the countryCredit: Facebook

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