EL court sets date for ‘Mani­bags’ trial early in new year

Daily Dispatch - - News - MALIBONGWE DAYIMANI CRIME RE­PORTER mal­i­bong­[email protected]­patch.co.za

The trial of an Eastern Cape stu­dent ac­cused of theft after mil­lions were de­posited in her ac­count by the state bur­sary fund be­gins next month.

On Thurs­day mag­is­trate Nomthandazo Vabaza set the trial date for Jan­uary 18.

Wal­ter Sisulu Univer­sity stu­dent Sibongile Mani ap­peared be­fore Vabaza in con­nec­tion with the R14m er­ro­neously trans­ferred into her stu­dent ac­count on June 1 2017 by the Na­tional Stu­dent Fi­nan­cial Aid Scheme (NSFAS).

She stands ac­cused of mis­us­ing R818,000 of the wind­fall be­fore the er­ror was no­ticed by NSFAS on Au­gust 14 2017.

Mani, 29, then a sec­ond-year ac­count­ing stu­dent, was sup­pose to re­ceive her monthly R1,400 meal al­lowance, but some­how, when it ar­rived it was R14,140,000.

Her lawyer, Asanda Pakade, and state pros­e­cut­ing ad­vo­cate Luthando Makoyi told Vabaza that they were ready for the trial.

Vabaza told both par­ties to have a pre-trial con­fer­ence a week be­fore the trial date to dis­cuss and iron out any con­flicts that may arise and po­ten­tially cause fur­ther de­lays.

Warn­ing Mani, Vabaza said: “You are out on warn­ing and you are warned to come back at 8.30[am] on Jan­uary 18 for the start of the trial.

“This is also to al­low the state and the de­fence to sit down for a pre­trial con­fer­ence.”

Court pa­pers de­tail that the R14,140,000 was trans­ferred at 1.09pm on June 1 last year – and at 2.55pm Mani’s lav­ish spend- ing spree be­gan.

Within hours, pa­pers fur­ther show, Mani is al­leged to have spent R20,000 on “pro­hib­ited” items in­clud­ing cig­a­rettes and al­co­hol.

Ac­cord­ing to the charge sheet, be­tween June 1, when the money landed in her ac­count, and Au­gust 14 when the er­ror was picked up, Mani spent R818,469.20 at 48 dif­fer­ent mer­chants in the Eastern Cape, Jo­han­nes­burg and Cen­tu­rion.

The doc­u­ment al­leges Mani spent R174,631 over a few days at the Check­ers Hy­per in Cen­tu­rion.

An amount of R178,923 was spent at Dis­count World in Fleet Street, East Lon­don.

“Pro­hib­ited [by NSFAS] items to the value of R286,108.17 were pur­chased.

“This in­cluded al­co­hol, cig­a­rettes, elec­tri­cal ap­pli­ances, bed­ding, air­time, gift cards, toys and mi­crowaves,” the doc­u­ment re­veals. “Dur­ing each of her pur­chases over the pe­riod, she was pro­vided with a re­ceipt that showed her cur­rent bal­ance.”


BACK TO BA­SICS: Sibongile Mani talks to her lawyer, Asanda Pakade, shortly after mak­ing a brief ap­pear­ance at the East Lon­don mag­is­trate's court on Thurs­day.

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