Lesotho's ex-first lady granted bail in murder case

Lesotho prime minister Thomas Thabane with his wife, Maesaiah Thabane, at the funeral of his first wife, Lipolelo Thabane. Maesaiah was expected to go home on Tuesday as she could not post her bail money on Monday.
Lesotho prime minister Thomas Thabane with his wife, Maesaiah Thabane, at the funeral of his first wife, Lipolelo Thabane. Maesaiah was expected to go home on Tuesday as she could not post her bail money on Monday.
Image: SUPPLIED\File

Lesotho's former first lady, who has been charged over the murder of her husband's estranged wife, was granted bail on Monday after spending three weeks in prison.

Maesaiah Thabane, 43, was charged in February after police quizzed her over the 2017 slaying of former Prime Minister Thomas Thabane's wife two days before his inauguration.

She was controversially freed on bail of 1,000 maloti ($57 / 50 euros), but that decision was revoked and she returned to jail on June 3.

On Monday High Court judge Thamsanqa approved bail.

She "is trapped in jail, she asked me to release her on bail, and nothing has really been said against the petitioners' words," Nomngcongo said.

"Therefore I grant (the) petitioner bail on conditions as prayed," he said, ordering her to pay a bond of 10,000 maloti.

Maesaiah Thabane has been charged with orchestrating the shooting of Lipolelo Thabane, who was brutally gunned down outside her home in Maseru.

Police have also charged her for the attempted murder of Lipolelo Thabane's friend Thato Sibolla, who was wounded during the attack.

Lipolelo and Thomas Thabane, now 81, had been embroiled in bitter divorce proceedings when the 58-year-old was killed.

The murder created a political crisis in the mountain kingdom.

Police have questioned Thabane over the murder and accused him paying assassins a down payment of $24,000 to kill his wife.

Thabane, who has not been charged, came under increasing pressure to step down over the murder, and eventually quit last month.

Both the former premier and his current wife --whom he married two months after Lipolelo was killed - have denied any involvement in the murder.

Maesaiah will go home on Tuesday as she could not post her bail money on Monday. The office of the clerk of court had already closed by the time judgement was handed down.

The judge cautioned her against interfering with witnesses and instructed her to report to her local police station fortnightly.

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