NSFAS News – Student Allowance Fraudster Gets 18 Years In Prison

NSFAS News - Student Allowance Fraudster Gets 18 Years In Prison

NSFAS News – Student Allowance Fraudster Gets 18 Years In Prison

In todays latest NSFAS News – A man employed at Walter Sisulu University, in the Eastern Cape has been given a heavy sentence for defrauding students and university officials out of more than R1 million in an elaborate scam he perpetrated with a number of accomplices.

The Mthatha Specialised Commercial Crimes Court sentenced a man to at least 18  years in prison after he was found to be a part of a scam at Walter Sisulu University (WSU) in which at least R1.2 million was stolen from officials and financially disadvantaged students.

Siyambonga Mhlakaza, aged 35, was charged with money laundering and 81 counts of fraud, according to the spokesperson of the National Prosecuting Authority in the Eastern Cape, Luxolo Tyali.

Mhlakaza admitted to taking part in a scam, in which funds intended for student allowances and academic officials’ salaries, were diverted to his personal bank account.

The prosecutor further points out that Mhlakaza admitted to being approached by an employee who works at the university’s Financial Aid Bureau section who then asked for his bank accounts to deposit funds in them. Mhlakaza cited financial challenges for committing the fraud.

“Mhlakaza admitted that he gave the person his banking details. Subsequently, deposits ranging between R6 000 and R89 000 were made into his accounts between April and June 2016,”

The scam is reported to have affected 81 people, with some forced to drop out of their studies due to the extent of the financial challenges they faced as result.

According to Tyali, in terms of the money laundering charge, Mhlakaza admitted to transferring the fraudulently acquired money into his different bank accounts.

Additionally, the culprit also further confessed to having contacted Intelimali, a private company responsible for the distribution of allowance to students, and pretended to be a qualifying student who wanted to enquire about their allowances and change their banking details.  Intelimali officials then deposited the funds due to these students in his different accounts.

Tyali explained that the scam was exposed when the university investigated a claim by one student that her allowance had not been paid. The accused have pleaded not guilty to the charges.

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