How ’Maesaiah got bail

How ’Maesaiah got bail

MASERU – THE police have lifted the lid on what happened when Justice ’Maseforo Mahase granted ’Maesaiah Thabane bail despite their opposition.
The details of what happened in Justice Mahase’s chambers last Wednesday are contained in supporting affidavits police officers have filed in an application seeking to nullify ‘Maesaiah’s bail.
The appeal was filed by Prime Minister Thomas Thabane’s grandchild and namesake, Thomas Motsoahae Thabane, and three others who say the bail should not have been granted because of glaring errors in the application.

They include Lipolelo’s two nephews and her friend Thato Sibolla, who was also injured during the attack. Sibolla has fled to South Africa, saying she fears for her life after ‘Maesaiah was released.
The dramatic story of what happened in the chambers is told by Senior Inspector Mamello Ntsane, an advocate in charge of the police’s Legal Services.
He says on February 5 afternoon he discovered that ‘Maesaiah’s bail application had been filed but it had no date on which it was to be moved in the court.

He alerted the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP)’s Advocate Letsie who said he was aware of the application and was preparing a notice of intention to oppose.
The DPP received the papers on the bail application at 14:05. At around 15:15 Advocate Letsie arrived at the High Court with his colleague Advocate Thaba.
They served the notice of intention to oppose to Advocate Rethabile Setlojoane, ‘Maesaiah’s lawyer, before proceeding to Justice Mahase’s chambers.
Advocate Ntsane says Justice Mahase told the lawyers she had just received the file but would read it quickly.

Advocate Setlojoane told the judge he wanted the case to proceed immediately because ‘Maesaiah had a doctor’s appointment in Bloemfontein the next day.
The judge asked Advocate Setlojoane if she was right that he is the one who handed ‘Maesaiah to the police.
She then turned to Advocate Thaba who said they were opposing the bail and pleaded with the court for more time to interview police officers who would submit affidavits.
Advocate Thaba also said he needed time to peruse the docket and prepare his case against the bail. He then pleaded with the judge to push the hearing to the following day because it was it was after working hours and “it was highly impossible for him to settle answering affidavits and the heads of arguments”.
Advocate Ntsane says Justice Mahase however overruled their submissions and granted bail, saying she would not be around to hear the case the next day as she would be attending the swearing in of the National Reforms Authority members.

He says the judge also insisted that the bail had to be granted because ‘Maesaiah was scheduled to see a doctor in South Africa the next day.
Advocate Ntsane claims that after granting the bail the judge then said the lawyers can come back to court on February 7 to “make argument for and against granting of bail application”.
In other words, the judge was suggesting that they could have another hearing to argue a bail application she had already granted.
Advocate Letsie intervened to say it was his duty as a lawyer to advise the court to make the correct decision.

“He further stated that there will be no reason to come back on Friday (February 7) to argue the bail which had already been granted,” Advocate Ntsane says.
Justice Mahase ordered the lawyers to discuss the issue outside her chambers.
“I must aver that upon their return from outside she granted bail as prayed for.”
In his supporting affidavit Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), Paseka Mokete, who is leading the investigation, tells the court that he had told the DPP that they would “vigorously oppose” the bail.

He says they viewed ‘Maesaiah as a flight risk because she had fled the country when the police called her for questioning.
DCP Mokete describes the First Lady as a “very dangerous person who is capable of recruiting assassins to kill innocent persons for her own benefit”.
“She is a friend of very dangerous famo music gangs who are too fond of killing any person irrespective of reasons,” DCP Mokete says.
He says the police feared that ‘Maesaiah could pose a serious risk to witnesses in her case.

“The remaining co-accused who are not arrested are likely to resist lawful arrest and fight the police as ‘Maesaiah is very influential to instigate people to disobey the law.”
‘Maesaiah is likely to skip bail because she knows that her charges carry a death sentence, DCP Mokete says.
He adds that the same ministers and businessmen who helped ‘Maesaiah escape on February 10 are likely to assist her with money if she flees again.

Staff Reporter

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