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South Africa declared diplomats from Lesotho and Malawi to be persona non grata for abusing diplomatic privileges and gave them 72 hours to leave the country. South Africa’s Ministry of International Relations said in a statement that the action followed an investigation that found the diplomats had been buying duty-free alcohol with cash and then reselling it to retailers. Voice of America reports that the South African Revenue Service said the scandal, which also involved diplomats from other countries including Rwanda and  Burundi, had led to the estimated loss of millions of dollars in unpaid taxes every month.

Malawi’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement that the Malawi government had conveyed regret to the South African government about the conduct of the diplomats involved, and that it would take appropriate action when the diplomats returned to Malawi.