Lesotho diplomats in South Africa are allegedly running an illegal duty-free alcohol ring supplying bars and restaurents in their country.
The illegal cross-border ring was uncovered by EWN when they were investigating the Lesotho government’s failure to pay expenses for the SA based staff.
The diplomats say they were forced into the fraudulent activity by the evergrowing shortage and sometimes non-payment of their salaries.
The country’s Consul General in Johannesburg Majoro Mohapi spilled the beans after City Power cut off the electricity supply to his home in Sandhurst.
Mohapi said he spent Christmas without electricity after City Power cut it off because he owed more than R100,000 and had been reconnected illegally.
“I was ill advised by my staff that sometimes the bills were not paid and so it piled up until City Power cut it off and my staff reconnected it.”
Mohapi said he and other colleagues often spent their own money to cover expenses such as petrol and cellphones to do their work – but some had resorted to selling alcohol that they bought duty-free.
He said it was knowledge that his colleagues sold duty-free alcohol and even took it across the border.
“I would say 90% of my staff are doing that and they are making profits out it. To me it’s an illegal business because they are defrauding the South African revenue authority of tax.”
Diplomats are allowed to pass borders without declaring goods and Mohapi said some of them used this privilege to export to bars and restaurants in Lesotho.