NEWS

Legal Expert: Walter University Student's Spending Spree Is 'Unjustified Enrichment'

University will launch an investigation into the 'accident' that resulted in its student receiving R14m.

30/08/2017 10:40 SAST | Updated 30/08/2017 13:26 SAST
Jonathan Kitchen
Man throwing dollar bills in the air, arms raised in celebration

The lavish spending spree by a university student who accidentally received R14 million in her student account could be described as 'unjustified enrichment', according to a legal expert.

"If a person receives money mistakenly transferred to their account and uses that money, knowing that the money is not due, that person is guilty of theft," said Aslam Moosajee, lawyer for Norton Rose Fulbright.

"There may be isolated instances in which a person uses the money, mistakenly paid to that person, without appreciating that the money was not due.

"In such circumstances, while the person may not be guilty of theft, the beneficiary could still be ordered to pay back the money, on the basis of unjustified enrichment."

The Walter Sisulu University student received the money four month's ago and has since been living large, spending over R400,000 on fine dining, parties, clothes, and phones -- all of which was posted on social media. An investigation into the incident would be launched on Wednesday.

The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) has asked to university to urgently recoup the money, according to a report by EWN.

"We are shocked by this and as I said it's a process that's not managed by the university. The university has nothing to do with NSFAS at the moment," said NSFAS spokesperson Kagisho Mamabolo.

University spokesperson Yonela Tukwayo confirmed that a student was accidentally deposited a 'staggering' R14 million into their student account. She blamed the accident on a technical glitch.

"We can confirm that the rumours are true, however, even though it's NSFAS funds, the fault is not with NSFAS," Tukwayo told HuffPost SA.

"Intelli-money, which is the middle-man in terms of the management of funds, is the one responsible for the technical glitch".

"Absolutely, she has to pay it back, she signed a loan agreement"Yonela Tukwayo - Walter Sisulu University

The student had applied for a loan and was due to receive a few thousands for her 2017 student year.

Tukwayo, however, emphasised that the money was deposited into her student account and not her bank account.

"I am not sure how the student has bought so many lavish things, the student card is limited to books, accommodation, and groceries at selected supermarkets."

NSFAS, meanwhile, tweeted that it was not to blame for the incident.

The story has since gone viral and many matriculants have decided that Walter Sisulu is now the best tertiary option for them.