Lesotho on Thursday announced that several of its diplomats have been expelled from South Africa for illicitly peddling duty-free alcohol.
The Foreign Affairs ministry in Maseru said South Africa issued the diplomats and their families a 72 hour time frame to leave the country.
According to the statement released, South Africa had taken the decision because the diplomats violated laws “specifically, the illicit trade in duty-free alcohol”
South African media have reported that cash-strapped Lesotho diplomats have been bringing alcohol into the country without paying duty and then re-selling them in bars and restaurants.
The ministry expressed “disappointment and embarrassment and declared several Basotho diplomats persona non grata”.
Lesotho has vowed disciplinary action against the officers on their return home.
A leaked note from the South African government sent to the Foreign Ministry in Maseru, listed 12 diplomats, including spouses who “have abused their diplomatic privileges”.