By Staff Writers
Maseru, Feb 4 (The Night’s Watch) – First Lady ‘Maesaiah Thabane will spend the night in a police cell while awaiting the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Hlalefang Motinyane’s decision whether or not to charge her with murder of former first lady, Lipolelo Thabane.
‘Maesaiah, who had been on the run since January 10, handed herself over to police on Tuesday morning and was arrested after a lengthy interrogation.
If the DPP decides that murder and attempted murder charges should be laid against ‘Maesaiah, she will first appear in the Maseru magistrate for a mention as soon as reasonably possible, but no later than 48 hours after the arrest.
“First Lady ‘Maesaiah Thabane is still in police custody,” Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Paseka Mokete told journalists on Tuesday during a press conference at the police headquarters in Maseru.
“Police have gathered enough evidence to substantiate murder and attempted murder charges against her and other eight people implicated in the murder of former first lady Mrs Lipolelo Thabane and attempted murder of person she was traveling with,” Mokete added.
He said ‘Maesaiah had not appeared before the court for a mention today because the DPP’s office was still assessing the brief referred to it by the police.
He further mentioned that DPP was out of the country.
If she thinks there are reasonable prospects of securing a conviction, DPP will institute a prosecution.
Lipolelo Thabane, Prime Minister Thomas Thabane’s estranged wife, was shot dead on June 14 2017, at Ha Masana in Maseru while traveling in a vehicle with a female companion who sustained serious injuries.
The assassination occurred two days before her husband’s inauguration as Prime Minister for a second term.
This was two years after the High Court ruled that she was the lawful first lady and entitled to benefits, and not ‘Maesaiah who was Thabane’s customary wife at the time.
The court banned ‘Maesaiah from “performing any functions and exercising any rights vested in the applicant (Lipolelo) as the First Spouse in terms of the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister (Retirement and Spouses’ Benefits) Act, 2011 (Act No: 10 of 2011).
Hardly three months after Lipolelo’s death, Thabane remarried ‘Maesaiah who then became first lady, officially.
It was only revealed last month that prime minister Thabane’s cell phone was used at the murder scene.
‘Maesaiah was then summoned by police for question but she brazenly refused to present herself to police as requested without giving reasons.
This prompted police to get an arrest warrant from the Magistrate Court which authorised them to arrest her.
But when police invaded the state house to arrest her, she was nowhere to be found. She had vanished into thin air. Today, out of the blue, she handed herself over to the police. NW