Forensic investigators called in over R14m NSFAS funding debacle
Walter Sisulu University and NSFAS staff are off the hook over the R14.1-million mistakenly transferred to university student Sibongile Mani last month‚ but the staff from the company responsible for the administration of the funds hasn't yet been cleared of wrongdoing.
A forensic investigator has been appointment to probe what happened at IntelliMali. This was revealed in a joint statement issued by NSFAS‚ WSU and IntelliMali on Saturday morning.
"Following preliminary assessments‚ NSFAS and WSU can confirm that no employee on either part has been found to have been involved in the erroneous crediting of the R14.1-million into the student's IntelliCard account. IntelliMalli has appointed a credible audit firm to institute a forensic investigation into the matter‚" the statement said.
"IntelliMali‚ NSFAS and WSU believe that the forensic investigation is the only way to get to the bottom of the matter and have committed to participating fully with the process. Upon the conclusion of investigation‚ the parties have committed to implementing the findings and will sharing them with all relevant stakeholders‚" the statement continued.
But while they await the outcome‚ the three authorities are adamant that not a single rand "erroneously" given to Mani came from public coffers.
"The three parties would like to confirm to the South African public that no public funds were lost in the unfortunate process that led to the R14-million error and the R818‚000 that was subsequently misappropriated by the student. Preliminary investigations by the service provider have established that these funds belonged to the university‚ and not NSFAS‚ as initially believed‚" said the statement.
The three bodies also claimed that IntelliMali has reimbursed the university for the R818‚000 spent by Mani. This cash came from "its own company finances".
They also confirmed that "no steps" have yet been taken by the university - but this possibility wasn't completely ruled out - and IntelliMali re-confirmed that it has opened a theft case against Mani.
"The university has opted to await the outcomes of the forensic investigation before considering any further steps. The university is also providing counselling to the student to ensure that she continues with her studies. IntelliMali has opened a case of theft against the student and is cooperating with law enforcement authorities in their investigation‚" the statement said.
The three were also insistent that no other students were affected by what happened‚ and that other student allowances would continue to be administered by IntelliMali.