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Free State College Commits to Refunding NSFAS Funds



Free State College Commits to Refunding NSFAS Funds

Free State College Commits to Refunding NSFAS Funds. The Motheo Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) college, located in the Free State, has entered into an Acknowledgement of Debt (AoD) agreement with the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) concerning its involvement in the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) investigation.

In a significant development, the college has agreed to reimburse NSFAS with a total amount of R38 million. These funds, previously unallocated, pertain to the period spanning from 2017 to 2022.

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Unallocated Funds Origins and Purpose

The unallocated funds in question were originally designated for students who met the criteria for funding. However, these students either changed educational institutions or withdrew from their programs, resulting in the funds remaining in the possession of the college for an extended period. According to the established protocol, these funds were meant to be returned to NSFAS at the conclusion of this period.

Repayment Plan

Motheo TVET College has committed to making monthly payments of R855,000 over a span of 60 months as part of the AoD agreement. This development marks the first AoD agreement entered into by the SIU with an institution of higher learning since the inception of the investigation.

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Call for Accountability

The SIU, in its quest for accountability, has urged other higher education institutions to come forward and initiate the reimbursement of unallocated funds owed to NSFAS. So far, the SIU has successfully recovered over R421.3 million from various institutions of higher learning.

NSFAS Funds Misallocation

Initial findings from the SIU’s ongoing investigation have indicated that an alarming sum of over R5 billion in NSFAS funds may have been disbursed to students who did not meet the necessary eligibility criteria for financial support.

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SIU Investigative Authority

The SIU, in accordance with Proclamation R88 of 2022, holds the legal authority to investigate allegations of corruption and maladministration within the operations of NSFAS. Moreover, it has the mandate to recover any financial losses incurred by the State due to instances of corruption or negligence.

Legal Recourse

Under the Special Investigating Units and Special Tribunals Act 74 of 1996, the SIU is empowered to initiate civil actions in the High Court or a Special Tribunal in its own name to rectify any wrongdoings discovered during investigations arising from corruption, fraud, or maladministration.

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Referral of Criminal Conduct

The SIU also pledges to refer any evidence pointing to criminal misconduct uncovered during its investigations to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) for further legal action.

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