SARS busts diplomats for allegedly selling illicit alcohol, cheating taxman out of R100m per month

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A general view of a SARS building
A general view of a SARS building
Photo by Gallo Images/Jacques Stander

The SA Revenue Service (SARS) has uncovered a tax-dodging racket in which foreign diplomats buy large volumes of alcohol at duty free retailers and sell it locally, cheating the tax collector of an estimated R100 million in taxes every month.

News24 can reveal two investigations by SARS, one in 2019 and the other last year, singled out diplomats from Rwanda, Lesotho, Ghana, Guinea, Malawi and Burundi for being involved in the scam.

At least three senior officials from the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told News24 last year SARS agents caught a German diplomat, inside a duty free retailer, using his credentials to buy alcohol for three friends.

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