GhPageNews32-Year-Old student on scholarship escapes jail after spending £50K out of £850K...

32-Year-Old student on scholarship escapes jail after spending £50K out of £850K she accidentally received

A South African student who mistakenly got £850,000 instead of her usual £85 monthly university food grant and blew £50,000 of it in a 73-day spending spree has escaped jail.

Sibongile Mani relies on benefits to pay for her studies. But could not believe it when a government aid scheme sent her 10,000 times too much money.

The student released she had become an overnight multi-millionaire, with 14 million rands credited to her, when she checked her bank account in South Africa.

Instead of contacting government officials, the accountancy student embarked on a spending spree.

According to Mail Online, she ditched her old wardrobe for designer fashions bought herself and her friends the latest iPhones and swapped her cheap cornrow hairstyle for £200-a-time Peruvian weaves.

But her new lifestyle, in which she blew a small fortune of £666 a day, soon began raising eyebrows.

Mani got exposed when she left a till receipt behind at a supermarket which showed she had more than the equivalent of £800,000 in her bank and was reported to the cops.

She was arrested in 2017 and charged with theft and fraud, and in 2022 was sentenced to 5 years in prison after blowing 818,000 rand – equivalent to nearly £50,000 in 2017.

After being sentenced she wrote on her personal blog that she saw it as ‘miracle money’ and a ‘gift from God’ and ‘didn’t think twice’ on whether it was wrong to spend it.

But her lawyer Mr Asanda Pakade appealed on the grounds Mani was no danger to society, she had not sought out the money, and was not a candidate for overcrowded prisons.

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