Lesotho’s former prime minister Thomas Thabane paid hitmen from a notorious gang a down payment of more than $25,000 to kill his estranged wife, police have said.
In a shocking court affidavit, the police in Lesotho say Thomas Thabane and his current wife Maesaiah Thabane paid assassins approximately $180,000 – agreed as a fee for the murder three years ago.
Mrs Thabane, who has been charged with murder, has been in custody since last week. Her lawyers will argue that she should be granted bail to care for her unwell husband.She has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Mr Thabane – who has denied any involvement in the murder - was forced to step down last month amid the murder allegations.
Lipolelo Thabane, 58, had reportedly refused to divorce Mr Thabane, and won a court battle to retain her privileges as first lady until any formal separation.
Thabane remarried two months after the murder. According to the police, Mr and Mrs Thabane wanted his former wife, Lipolelo, dead, so that his current wife could assume the role of first lady.
The statement described an incident when Thabane “physically pointed out the residence of the deceased to his co-accused”, and said that the prime minister’s mobile number had been discovered in communication records from the crime scene.
Deputy commissioner of police, Paseka Moketeb said the suspected murderers were members of the “infamous Famo gang, notorious for displaying violence and for brutal killings”, who had been promised the equivalent of $179,485 to be paid in instalments.
The killing was originally blamed on unknown criminals.
Thabane tried to hold on to power but was forced out by internal divisions within his All Basotho Convention party.