Ricochet News

Judgement in Pastor Tim Omotoso bail application expected on 9 June

MAY 23, 2017
Judgement in Pastor Tim Omotoso bail application expected on 9 June

Controversial Nigerian televangelist and Senior pastor of the Jesus Dominion International church, Tim Omotoso, who has been languishing at St Albans Prison for a month now, was told he will learn of is fate on the 9th of June after he appeared in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate's Court for his bail hearing on Tuesday.

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

The hearing has centred on his status in the country after it emerged that he is in the country illegally. The prosecution has thus sought to argue that he cannot be granted bail since he is a flight risk.

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.

The hearing was attended by Eastern Cape Arts and Culture MEC, Pemmy Majodina, and Eastern Cape MEC for Social Development, Nancy Sihlwayi.

Addressing the media after the postponement, MEC Majodina said that she fully supports the court's decision to remand Omotoso in custody.

“We fully support the fact that this case has been postponed without giving him bail because if you give him bail, it means that you are putting the lives of innocent women, who think that they are worshipping God under this myth of such a pastor, in danger,” she said.

“We fully support this - as the ANC Women’s League and as women in Parliament, we are saying no to bail.”

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.”