Would You Spend Money Transferred To You By Accident?
How will you react if you “accidentally” receive more money than you should have?
Imagine you get an alert and see that N300 million has been transferred into your account, or if a client is to pay N7,000 but they accidentally pay N700,000.
Will you withdraw it immediately before it is taken away from you? Will you carry extra high shoulders into stores to buy expensive things? Will you immediately report the matter and try to rectify it? Or will you invest the money and help its real owner “keep it” until it is found?
Honestly, what would you do?
Sibongile Mani, a South African student at Walter Sisulu University (WSU), is currently in trouble after a system error led her into a spending spree.
Mani was to receive R1,400 (N38,500) monthly financial aid like other students, but she was accidentally paid R14.1 million (over N388 million). She didn’t report the matter immediately. Instead, 73 days later when the transaction was discovered, she had spent R818,000 (N22 million) from it.
People complained after they noticed that Mani had gone on a “lavish” spending spree. Some students had also picked up from her lifestyle.
She started wearing designer clothes and a R3000 Peruvian weave, as opposed to the neat cornrows she used to wear. She also bought an iPhone 7 for herself and all her friends.
Mani threw surprise birthday parties for her friends and flew to events like the Durban July.
Suspicions grew after a receipt from Spar was leaked showing a balance of just over R13.6-million. Samkelo Mqhayi, deputy branch secretary of South African Students Congress (SASCO) and SRC student support officer, called National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) offices to check if this was true and NSFAS confirmed that the initial amount was R14-million.
The case is currently being treated as a fraud by Intellimali, the company that administers financial aid allowances at WSU, and her account has been deactivated.
Luckily, the transaction error is not affecting the other students’ financial aid support, although the company is managing the monthly food allowance of thousands of students at WSU.
When asked to tell her own side of the story, she said she wasn’t ready. She also said, “It’s difficult, very difficult but I will get through (it).”