Lesotho diplomats run illegal alcohol ring in SA
The country’s Consul General in Johannesburg said it was common knowledge that his colleagues sold duty-free alcohol and even took it across the border.
JOHANNESBURG - Eyewitness News has uncovered a duty-free alcohol ring run by Lesotho diplomats in South Africa who say they are making up for the shortages in their salaries.
What started as an Eyewitness News investigation into the government of Lesotho’s inability to pay expenses for staff resulted in the discovery of various fraudulent activities.
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.