MASERU – Three people who were arrested last month in connection with a M4.3 million heist at First National Bank (FNB) were last week Tuesday granted bail by a Maseru magistrate.
Presiding magistrate Mokoenihi Patsi granted a M1 000 bail each to Lehlohonolo Tsikinyane, 26, Sekhonyana Justice Ntlhabo, 65, and Seemane Qhoai, 30.
A fourth accused, Nthabiseng Ntlhabo, had already been granted bail earlier.
The granting of bail followed a fierce opposition by the state which argued that the suspects would abscond due to the seriousness of their charge.
The court however rejected the crown’s submissions saying the crown had only alleged that the suspects would flee without substantiating the fears with facts.
The magistrate said the police investigating officer Inspector Mphelehetse Khatleli had also not shown the court how far they had gone with investigations.
He said it was incumbent upon the crown to show on the balance of probabilities that the accused would flee trial.
The magistrate said the crown had not succeeded in persuading the court not to grant bail to the suspects.
The magistrate said despite what appears to be serious charges they are facing he would grant them bail under stringent conditions.
Apart from ordering them to pay bail of M1 000 each the accused were also ordered to surrender their travel documents to the senior clerk of court until their case had been dealt with.
They were also ordered not to obtain new travel documents while their passports were still in the custody of the court.
The suspects were also ordered to secure independent surety of M50 000 from an adult resident of Maseru.
The suspects were also ordered to report to the CID offices at Ha Mabote every fortnight and not interfere with police investigations into the matter.
“They should never leave the district of Maseru without the written permission of the officer commanding CID at Ha Mabote,” said the magistrate.
The four suspects are due to appear in court for remand on December 9.