A former South African student was sentenced to five years in prison Wednesday after she went on a shopping spree with a $1 million university scholarship that she received by mistake.
Sibongile Mani, 31, had been expecting a monthly stipend of 1,400 rand (about $100). When 14 million rand ($1 million) showed up in her account, she went on a two-month spending whirlwind.
A court in East London sentenced Mani to five years for theft after she spent some $56,000 on clothes, a phone and partying after receiving the windfall in 2018. The National Students Financial Aid Scheme, which aids underprivileged students, took three months to detect the error. The rest of the funds were recovered from her account.
Her sentence, which was pronounced live on television, was exceptionally harsh for a South African court. Paralympian Oscar Pistorius was initially sentenced to six years for shooting dead his girlfriend in 2014, before the sentence was later revised upwards to 13 years.
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