Bail denied: Controversial Nigerian Pastor Tim Omotoso to remain in custody

JUNE 9, 2017
Bail denied: Controversial Nigerian Pastor Tim Omotoso to remain in custody

Controversial Nigerian televangelist and Senior pastor of the Jesus Dominion International church, Tim Omotoso, who has been languishing at St Albans Prison for more than month now will remain there after the Port Elizabeth Magistrate's Court denied him bail. His case will now be heard on the 21st of July to allow for further investigations

In denying him bail, the Magistrate agreed with the State that indeed the disgraced man of cloth was a flight risk and that he could interfere with witnesses and investigations if he was granted bail.

The news was received with jubilation from those opposed to his bail, who included Eastern Cape Arts and Culture MEC, Pemmy Majodina, while members from the Port Elizabeth branch of the Jesus Dominion International church began contemplating what the judgement meant.

Bail bid

Early on, roads leading to the Port Elizabeth Magistrate's Court were cordoned off as protesters and supporters of the Pastor trickled in for the hearing.

Omotoso was seeking bail after being arrested by the Hawks in dramatic fashion in April on allegations of sexual exploitation and human trafficking.

During his bail bid, the Department of Home Affairs told the court that he was in South Africa illegally.

A Home Affairs immigration officer, Ivan Klaasen, who was handed over five passports belonging to Omotoso by the defence team to investigate, told the court at the last hearing that while he was given five travel documents, he picked up from the system that the disgraced man of cloth had used six passports since the year 2000.

Klaasen further said that one of the passports had a Visa that entitle Omotoso to one entry into the country, however, the pastor had used it three times and it was never scanned.

He said that the Visa doesn’t have a barcode where authorities can refer to, which means that all the extensions and new working permits that were produced afterwards were illegal.

Klaasen concluded that pastor Omotoso is in the country illegally.

Charges

Omotoso faces 22 charges relating to sexual exploitation and human trafficking after eighteen more charges were added to the original four. He is alleged to have sexually abused several young women at his church in Umhlanga, Durban, under the pretext of healing them.

The disgraced man of cloth was arrested on the 20th of April by the Hawks shortly after he landed at the Port Elizabeth International Airport after evading arrest for days after the scandal came out. Rumours had made rounds that he had already skipped the country.

At the airport, he had apparently tried to avoid arrest by first lying about his flight's arrival time then hiding in public toilets at the airport when he found armed officers waiting for him.

Polarised city

The matter of Pastor Omotoso's innocence has divided the city - with many of his followers claiming he is innocent while others feel, the man of cloth has a case to answer.

There has been tension outside the Port Elizabeth Magistrate's Court as many residents have come out during the bail hearings either to support him or to make sure he gets no bail.

One resident and a choir member at the Port Elizabeth branch of the Jesus Dominion International church, Hlengiwe Khubone, told RNEWS that she believes Omotoso, who is called 'Daddy' by his followers, is innocent and she will continue to support him until he is released.

“I have travelled to many countries with ‘Daddy’ if he is not innocent then why didn’t he try anything with me, if he is not innocent then where are those girls because I don’t see them,” she said.

“I will continue to support ‘Daddy’ until this ends.”