TEBOHO KHATEBE MOLEFI
MASERU – The Commissioner of Police, Holomo Molibeli, has voiced concern over developments heading to the hearing of the murder case of Lipolelo Thabane, in which her former husband and former prime minister of Lesotho, Motsoahae Thabane, and his new wife ‘Maesaiah are key suspects.
Former Prime Minister Thabane has to answer a charge of the murder of his estranged second wife Lipolelo, who was in 2017 waylaid and shot dead near her home at Ha ’Masana on the outskirts of the capital Maseru, two days before Thabane’s inauguration as prime minister.
His third wife, ’Maesaiah, is the prime suspect in the high profile murder case that has seen her thrown into jail and later released on bail.
The office of the police commissioner is gravely concerned with the manner in which the high profile case of the Thabanes is being dealt with.
In the main, Molibeli, is troubled by the removal of Lead Prosecutor Shaun Abrahams from the case – indicating that with the aid of police investigators the South African lawyer has already completed interviewing all state witnesses in preparation of the trial.
“While waiting for the case to proceed in court, the investigators and myself were shocked to the marrow to learn that the prosecutor has been changed and it is no longer Advocate Shaun Abrahams and the new prosecutor also wants the Crown witnesses to be assembles once again for another interview by him,” the police commissioner says in his letter of concern to law and justice minister Advocate Lekhetho Rakuoane.
The new interviews are supposed to have commenced on June 8.
Molibeli informs the minister in his communication that the lives of these witnesses are seriously in endangered by the endless interviews by different prosecutors, “regard being had to the nature of the case in question and the weight of evidence they carry with them.”
While the commissioner protests that no reason has ever been forwarded to investigators for the change of a prosecutor in the case while witnesses have already been interviewed, he argues that conduct surrounding the case will result in mysterious disappearances of the witness and some refusing to testify fearing for their lives.
Molibeli, as a result requests Rakuoane to intervene in the matter, lest the case is presented before court with no evidence and no witnesses – which have hard and expensively earned.
“We have seen what happened in the murder cases involving one Mr Nthane and that of the son of Minister Lehlohonolo Moramotse. Honourable minister, once beaten twice shy,” Molibeli completes his lamentation.
In a brief telephone interview on Sunday, Minister Rakuoane said he could not comment on the matter, he was also not in a position to say say if he has received Molibeli’s letter.
Damning allegations of a conspiracy to eliminate Thabane’s estranged wife in cahoots with his current wife, ‘Maesaiah have kept surfacing and building up since Lipolelo’s death.
A police affidavit before court also reveals allegations Thabane and ‘Maesaiah promised to pay Lipolelo’s killers M3 million for the hit, all in a bid to stop the late Lipolelo from claiming the position of First Lady since their marriage was yet to be dissolved by court.
The allegations further state the Thabanes are yet to settle the balance in the alleged contract murder, having only paid M400 000 so far.
Earlier this year the High Court was forced to postpone the Thabanes case, in which they are accused with four others – suspected hitmen allegedly hired by Thabane and ‘Maesaiah to kill Lipolelo.
Justice Molefi Makara postponed the matter after failure by the Crown to present police affidavits and dockets that have to be scrutinized by the defense team before the trial date – among other reasons for the postponement.
The other reason presented before the judge for the postponement was that the other accused in the trial were not present; only ‘Maesaiah and the former prime minister were in court.
Molibeli’s letter has been copied to Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro, the Minister of Police, the Attorney General, and Principal Secretaries in the Ministries of Law as well as that of Police and Public Safety.