Ricochet News

Pastor Tim Omotoso bail hearing continues in Port Elizabeth Magistrate's Court

May 12, 2017
Pastor Tim Omotoso bail hearing continues in Port Elizabeth Magistrate's Court

The bail application of controversial Nigerian televangelist and Senior pastor of the Jesus Dominion International church, Tim Omotoso, will resume on Friday after the Port Elizabeth Magistrate's Court postponed proceedings last week Friday to allow for the verification of his travel documents.

Meanwhile Omotoso, whose bail application began last week Wednesday, was remanded in custody.

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.

Omotoso complaints about prison conditions

On Friday Pastor Omotoso’s attorney, Alfonso Hattingh, read out his affidavit in court in which he complained about the jail conditions at St Albans Prison where he is being kept.

Omotoso said that his constitutional rights were being infringed on since the day of his arrest as the public gathered to take video and pictures of his arrest.

He said that he was now having ‘suicidal thoughts’ as the events that have unfolded so far have had an impact on his physical and mental state.

Omotoso also complained about the mattress and blankets he was given at Mount Road Police Station.

He also said that he has been struggling to sleep in his jail cell.

Meanwhile, Omotoso’s lawyers claim that their client’s arrest was unlawful and they have handed in his two Nigerian passports for the Magistrate to examine.

Many travel documents

Pastor Tim Omotoso’s bail application has been postponed to the 12th of May for the Home Affairs to lodge an investigation into his travel documents.

On Thursday, Warrant Officer Peter Plaatjies, a member of the Hawks in Port Elizabeth, took the stand and told the court why Omotoso must not be granted bail.

He highlighted that Omotoso is a flight risk because he has connections all over Africa through his church, which would make it easy for him to leave the country.

W/O Plaatjies said that there was a chance of Omotoso also going after his victims if he was released on bail.

He claimed that a Hawks official, who is a member of the Jesus Dominion International church had alerted Omotoso about the investigation and that is how he managed to get away in their first attempt to arrest him in the Free State.

The State also argued that Omotoso doesn’t have a permanent address where they could locate him if he were released on bail.

Prosecutors added that he also doesn’t have a permanent passport and has been using several temporary passports when travelling.

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.”