Conspiracies behind student millionaire, says DA

By Zeenat Vallie Time of article published Sep 14, 2017

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CAPE TOWN - It was revealed in the Portfolio Committee meeting on Higher Education on 13 September that the student who received the R14.1 million incorrect payment must have conspired with vendors and administrative officials, according to a DA statement.

Read the latest developments on this story: NSFAS responds to student millionaire scandal

This follows the staggering R14.1 million allowance incorrectly paid into a Walter Sisulu University (WSU) student's account in June this year. 

The error saw the student millionaire receiving R14.1 million instead of R1 400. 

Upon discovery of the incorrect payment, National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) has come under fire. 

However, IntelliMali, a private payment company is believed to have made the payment into the student's account. 

The case is currently under forensic investigation by the Portfolio Committee on Higher Education, who held a meeting on 13 September to investigate the matter. 

The meeting revealed that the WSU student must have plotted with vendors and officials in order to receive the funds and splurge it in places ranging as far as East London, George, Queenstown and Centurion.

The student spent R880 000 of the received amount. 

The claim of conspiracy behind the payment was presented by the Vice-Chancellor of WSU, Professor James Midgley. 

In his presentation to the committee, Midgley said that the expenditure could not have taken place through normal means. 

In addition to Midgley's contention, the Head of Intellimali, Mr Michael Ansell declared that the company receives the names of approved merchants and specific items. This means that the received funds can only be spent at particular merchants. 

Therefore, student's cards do not normally work in the attempt of spending the funds at unspecified places or for unassigned items. 

The Democratic Alliance says that the planned Intellimali forensic investigation is crucial in identifying the role of the University and Intellimali officials. 

The forensic investigation is expected to reveal the following: 

- How the transfer occurred, given that Intellimali's computer records. At the time it showed a transfer of only R1 400.

- How the student was able to splurge money on unapproved items

The DA further declares that any involved parties be exposed, blacklisted and held accountable. 

The presentations at the meeting further unveiled that NSFAS has failed to implement the student-centered SBux scheme, a cellphone allowance system used by NSFAS to pay student allowances. 

The SBux system has been recommended as a means to eliminate the middleman. 

However, only 6 of 21 Universities are using SBux and are encountering problems of noncompliance by students, communication and other issues. 

The DA calls on Minister Blade Nzimande to assess the systems for payment of funding to students and to assess the best possible system for the future.


READ ALSO: What the accidental student millionaire bought with NSFAS money


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