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Omotoso trial: 'Did Zondi keep going back to Omotoso's house to be abused?'

By Afikile Lugunya - Oct 15, 2018
Omotoso trial: 'Did Zondi keep going back to Omotoso's house to be abused?'

The trial of controversial Nigerian televangelist and Senior Pastor of the Jesus Dominion International church, Timothy 'Tim' Omotoso, and his co-accused, Lusanda Solani and Zukiswa Sitho, has been postponed to Tuesday.

On Monday, the Defence led by Attorney Peter Daubermann, had an opportunity to cross-examine the State's first witness, 22-year-old Nombulelo Cheryl Zondi, and accused her of making up facts, as there were differences between what she presented before the court last week and her sworn statement.

Daubermann also accused presiding Judge, Judge Mandela Makaula, of impeding his cross-examination and even answering questions on Zondi's behalf.

Omotoso, Solani and Sitho, are facing 97 charges in total, 63 of those charges constitute the main charge sheet while 34 are alternative charges. The charges include racketeering activities, sexual assault and rape.

Zondi's cross-examination

Zondi had to relive the events of the she was allegedly first sexually assaulted by Omotoso at his Umhlanga home in Durban.

In her testimony, Zondi said the abuse happened over a period of over two years before she finally escaped Omotoso's house.

During the cross-examination, Daubermann said it was a mystery why Zondi kept returning to Omotoso's house in Umhlanga to get sexually abused.

Surprisingly, throughout the cross-examination and grilling of Zondi, the State Prosecutor, Nceba Ntelwa, kept sitting quietly at his bench leaving Judge Makaula to come to Zondi's defence.

When Daubermann suggested that when Zondi returned to Omotoso's house, where she was constantly abused sexually, it was because she wanted to be abused, the Judge ruled that he will not allow that statements in his court-room.

Omotoso never had full sexual intercause with Zondi

Daubermann made Zondi admit in court that Omotoso never had a full sexual intercause with her.

Zondi said that Omotoso only touched the opening of her v*gina without fully raping her.

When asked why she never told her mother about the sexual abuse, Zondi said that she knew that her mother would try to fight for her. She also feared for her life because she made a promise to Omotoso that she'd keep the abuse to herself.

"He used to say that  I'm monitoring your lives," she said.

Zondi said that every time she had bad thoughts about Omotoso she'd quickly pray to God to erase those thoughts because she was afraid of Omotoso.

The man of God's p*nis was in my mouth

Shedding tears on the stand, Zondi described to the court how Omotoso shoved his p*nis into her mouth at which the public gallery could be heard gasping in astonishment.

The trial continues...

Omotoso trial so far

Dauberman last week explained to presiding Judge, Mandela Makaula, that his clients had "refused to plead to all the charges against them”.

Judge Makaula entered a not guilty plea on their behalf.

Daubermann had also asked the court to throw the case out after the State apparently failed to provide specific details about exactly where and when the apparent abuses happened. 

Judge Makaula ruled that the trial continues.

Judge Makaula did not state any reasons why he decided to proceed with the trial that is expected to conclude in December.

There was also drama at the trial after two women claiming to be Omotoso's security were thrown out of the court building by police.

State witness provides damning testimony against Omotoso and Solani

On Wednesday, the first state witness, 22-year-old Nombulele Cheryl Zondi, who said she was sexually abused by Omotoso from when she was just 14 years old, chose appear in open court.

Zondi detailed how she joined the church and was later sexually abused by Omotoso at his Durban home.

She also linked one of Omotoso's co-accsued, Lusanda Solani, to the abuses.

The Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities (CRL Rights Commission) commended Zondi for her bravery and said that more girls have since come forwardasking for help to get justice following their abuse by religiuous leaders.

The trial has also attracted attention from Omotoso's home country in Nigeria.

The trial continues... 

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