Fresh push to jail ’Maesaiah

Fresh push to jail ’Maesaiah

MASERU – ‘MAESAIAH Thabane’s freedom could be short-lived after it emerged that there are efforts to reverse her controversial bail last week.
An urgent application filed in the Court of Appeal this week seeks to have the M1 000-bail cancelled and ’Maesaiah thrown back into remand prison.
Curiously, the Prime Minister Thomas Thabane’s grandchild, Thomas Motsoahae Thabane, is the main force behind the application. Thabane Jnr is the eldest son of Potlako Thabane, the Prime Minister’s son from the first marriage.

He claims he was raised by the Prime Minister and his wife, Lipolelo Thabane, whom ‘Maesaiah is accused of killing in June 2017.
Thabane Jnr’s application is supported by Thato Sibolla who was with Lipolelo when she was killed. Sibolla survived gunshot wounds and has fled to South Africa in the wake of ‘Maesaiah’s bail.
She says she now fears for her life now that ‘Maesaiah is out on bail.

The other applicants are Lipolelo Thabane’s nephews, Khauhelo Molapo and Thuto Makhooane, both based in South Africa.
Thabane Jnr argues that he has the right to appeal against ‘Maesaiah’s bail because he is a victim of the crime she allegedly committed.
He wants the Court of Appeal to nullify the Acting Chief Justice Maseforo Mahase’s bail order and place ‘Maesaiah back in remand prison.
He argues that Justice Mahase should not have granted the bail without considering his rights as a victim of the alleged crime.
Thabane Jnr’s main contention is that ‘Maesaiah remains a flight risk and is a “danger to the society”.

He says ‘Maesaiah “is an extremely dangerous person with an evident mercurial character and with the propensity to engage assassins and gangsters of the famo music in order to meets her ends”.
This, by insinuation, implies that ‘Maesaiah could have hired members of famo gangs to carry out the alleged hit on Lipolelo Thabane. It is the first time someone has officially hinted at the connection between the First Lady and the famo gangs. That link has only been a rumour until now.

Thabane Jnr argues that the judge should not have granted the bail without giving the police a chance to oppose it. He says the police had already filed a notice of intention to oppose the bail but Justice Mahase did not give them an opportunity to file their papers as per the court’s rules. Had the judge heard the police, he says, she would have realised that it was not prudent to grant bail to ‘Maesaiah because she could flee the country and possibly interfere with witnesses.

He claims the judge would have also noticed some glaring errors in ‘Maesaiah’s bail application. For instance, he alleges that the verifying affidavit and certificate of urgency the judge relied on to grant bail were dated February 4, a day before ‘Maesaiah was charged. “The petition (application for bail) was not signed by the petitioner (‘Maesaiah). This effectively means that there was no petition before the court as and when the judge granted the bail,” he says.

Thabane Jnr claims that ‘Maesaiah was released without having satisfied the bail conditions.
He points out that ‘Maesaiah was released from remand prison on February 5 but a receipt shows that she only paid the bail the next day.
This, he says, means that ‘Maesaiah was released without paying her bail.

Molapo and Makhooane, who are nephews, have also filed affidavits supporting Thabane Jnr.
Both say they are victims because Lipolelo was like a mother who “mentored” and “mothered” them since childhood.

Sibolla tells the court that she has lived in fear since ‘Maesaiah was granted bail. She says she is now in South Africa “but I remain unprotected and my safety is in doubt within my known country”.
She argues that the Director of Public Prosecutions should have consulted her about the bail as a victim, complainant and witness.
‘Maesaiah handed herself to the police last Tuesday after spending nearly three weeks on the run. A day later, she was charged with murder (Lipolelo’s) and attempted murder (Sibolla’s).
A few hours later she was controversially granted a M1 000 bail by Justice Mahase, who the Prime Minister has been trying to appoint as the substantive chief justice.
Some lawyers and opposition politicians have criticised the decision, pointing out that ‘Maesaiah did not deserve bail because she had fled when the police called her for questioning.

Staff Reporter

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