Johannesburg - A department of health worker, who was in charge of issuing bursaries to students, has been sentenced at the Kimberley Magistrate's Court after she was found guilty of running a scam that saw her pocket R80 000.

Captain Philani Nkwalase of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) on Thursday said the accused Lindiwe Cynthia Nqumashe (44) appeared in court on charges of fraud and money laundering. 

Explaining how the scam worked Captain Nkwalase said the accused, Nqumashe, who was working for the Northern Cape Department of Health, approved extra bursary allocations to students’ accounts in various tertiary institutions. 

Thereafter she contacted the institutions and alerted them of the "overpayment". The accused then asked the institutions to transfer the extra portion of funds back into a bank account. The bank account was in fact hers.

On Tuesday Nqumashe pleaded guilty to all the charges and was fined R50 000 with an alternative of six years imprisonment for all five counts of fraud. The Hawks said R20 000 of the fine is payable immediately, while the balance will be paid in monthly instalments of R1 500 a month.

Additionally, the accused was sentenced to three years imprisonment for money laundering, which is wholly suspended for five years on condition that she pays back  R46 736.23 to the department of health at a rate of R500 a month.

In an unrelated matter, Shimi Danny Glaswin Mayaba (24), Lawrence Ngcobo (37) and Jeremiah Assembly Ngala (33) were sentenced by Kimberley Magistrate's Court

The matter involved the attempted theft of a vehicle worth 597 880. 

Captain Nkwalase said the trio were intercepted by the Hawks while busy with fraudulent vehicle purchase at a prominent car dealer in Kimberley.

Mayaba and Ngcobo were each sentenced to five years imprisonment for forgery and uttering, wholly suspended for five years with stringent conditions. Ngala was sentenced to eight years imprisonment for fraud wholly suspended for four years with stringent conditions. Ngala was also sentenced to three years direct imprisonment for money laundering.