A student who accidentally received a £850,000 university grant instead of the usual £85 she gets each month went on a massive 73-day spending spree with her friends.
Sibongile Mani, 27, who is an Accountancy student at the Walter Sisulu University in Mthatha, South Africa, gets £85 each month put into her bank account in food and book allowances.
But the company that administers the financial aid allowances at the university, Intellimali, made a massive mistake and ended up sending £850,000 to the student.
The 27-year-old was said to have undergone a Cinderella-like transformation overnight after the money landed in her account.
She showed up to university with a £180 Peruvian weaves, began wearing designer outfits and bought a brand new iPhone 7.
The 27-year-old showed up to university with a £180 Peruvian weaves, began wearing designer outfits and bought a brand new iPhone 7.
She also began spending the cash on her closest friends, buying them new outfits and drinking £50 bottles of whisky and jetting herself and her pals round the country to wild parties.
Suspicions grew when a till receipt from a local SPAR shop was leaked showing that she had £59,500 in her account and her wild spending became more luxurious.
She was finally caught by Samkelo Mqhayi, deputy branch secretary of the South African Students Congress (SASCO), who reported her to the National Students’ Financial Aids Scheme.
He told Herald Live: ‘She threw surprise birthday parties for her friends and showered them with expensive gifts and flew them to events where she bought the best seats.
She also began spending the cash on her closest friends, buying them new outfits.
‘When the SPAR receipt was leaked showing a balance of R13.6-million in her account I called NSFAS and they checked their records and confirmed that the initial amount was R14-million’.
By the time they reigned her in after her two-and-a-half-month spending spree they discovered she had been blowing the equivalent to £666 a day which is a staggering amount in South Africa.
The total missing from the account is £50,000.
A fellow student said: ‘She went from a hard up, humdrum run-of-the-mill student to one who was leading a lavish lifestyle and seemed to have no bottom to her purse and lived the high life.
SASCO branch chairman Zolile Zamisa told Herald Live: ‘We are shocked. Not so long ago we were protesting for thousands of students who were left without funding due to fund shortages.
‘This cannot be allowed to happen again’
Miss Mani has since claimed that she had reported the error to the authorities.
She said: ‘Today my personal life has become a social media scandal. I have been named and shamed in public. Today, I am a bad person, a person who stole the money of students.
‘With that being said, and being named a thief, but as we all know in every story there is truth and there are lies with the very same story’.
She said she was not denying anything but would tell her side later but she has fled the campus and gone into hiding and shut down her Facebook page.
Walter Sisulu University spokeswoman Yonela Tukwayo siaid Miss Man will have to repay the money.
Legal experts have said Miss Mani could face a charge of theft.