Diplomats involved in duty-free booze scandal should be heavily fined

Issued by Darren Bergman MP – DA Shadow Minister of International Relations and Cooperation
07 Apr 2021 in News

The DA calls for the expansion of investigations by the South African Revenue Service (SARS) that have already revealed various foreign diplomats have been implicated in a duty-free booze scandal.

News24 report has revealed a SARS discovery that various foreign diplomats have attempted to circumvent paying taxes by creating an illicit market that sells duty-free liquor to alcohol traders.

While the DA welcomes the new sets of regulations to regulate the amount of liquor and cigarettes diplomats would be allowed to buy, SARS and the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) must approach the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) and the African Union (AU) to enlist their help in prosecuting diplomats found guilty of cheating SARS out of an estimated R100 million in taxes every month. They should also be fined heavily to recuperate the lost income.

South Africa’s economy was in trouble long before the economic restrictions of the Covid-19 lockdown started decimating it, and we cannot afford for these diplomats to simply get a slap on the wrist. If President Cyril Ramaphosa is as serious about clamping down on corruption as he claims, this should extend to foreign diplomats.

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