Malawian diplomats expelled from S Africa over booze scandal

13 June, 2021 12:00 AM printer

LILONGWE: Malawi said on Friday that several of its diplomats had been expelled from South Africa, which said they had been found guilty of peddling duty-free alcohol, reports AFP.

Malawi’s foreign affairs ministry in Lilongwe said South Africa had given the diplomats and their families 72 hours to leave the country.

Pretoria took the decision because the diplomats “were found guilty of engaging in illicit trade in duty-free alcohol” following an intensive investigation into their flouting of diplomatic privileges, South Africa’s ministry of international relations said in a statement.

Pretoria said investigations into similar transgressions by other missions accredited to South Africa were “at an advanced stage and similar action will be taken should they be found guilty”.

Several diplomats of Lesotho were expelled from South Africa on Thursday on similar grounds.

South African media have reported that cash-strapped Lesotho diplomats have been bringing alcohol into the country without paying duty and then re-selling it in bars and restaurants.

Malawi’s foreign ministry expressed “regret” that “Malawian diplomats...have been declared persona non grata” by South Africa.

It vowed disciplinary action when the officers return home.