Lesotho PM fails to appear in court to hear murder charges

ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA - JANUARY 26 : Prime Minister of Lesotho, Thomas Motsoahae Thabane arrives to attend the 30th African Union Summit at Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on January 26, 2018. (Photo by Minasse Wondimu Hailu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
FILE PHOTO: Prime Minister of Lesotho, Thomas Motsoahae Thabane. (Photo by Minasse Wondimu Hailu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Lesotho Prime Minister Thomas Thabane failed to appear in court on Friday to face charges of murdering his previous wife.

Thabane’s son told Reuters that his father is in South Africa receiving medical treatment but not give further details on his father’s trip.

“I’m still trying to confirm his whereabouts and whether or not he will show up. We don’t know,” Deputy Police Commissioner Paseka Mokete said.

If it is established that Lesotho Prime Minister Thomas Thabane is trying to flee justice, then the police will issue an arrest warrant, the country’s deputy police commissioner said on Friday.

Thabane on Thursday announced that he will step down at the end of July amid mounting pressure for him to resign over the murder scandal in which his current wife, Maesaiah, is also accused of involvement in the murder of Lipolelo Thabane.

Lipolelo was killed in June 2017, two days before the Prime Minister’s inauguration for a second term and two years after a court ruled that the deceased was the lawful first lady and entitled to benefits.

Maesaiah also faces charges in the death of Thato Sibolla, a friend of the deceased who was wounded at the scene.

Maesaiah, who will go trial on March 17, has denied any involvement in the murder but cannot enter a plea until the trial begins.