Ricochet News

Prosecutors decide on Omotoso charges as case postponed to next month

By Afikile Lugunya - Nov 1, 2017
Prosecutors decide on Omotoso charges as case postponed to next month

The case against controversial Nigerian televangelist and senior pastor of the Jesus Dominion International church, Timothy Omotoso, was again postponed in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate's Court, where he made a brief appearance on Wednesday morning.

The 59-year-old clergyman faces 27 charges. 22 charges relate to alleged sexual offences that took place at his church in Durban while the other five were later added in September after his failed first bail application and relate to him being the country illegally.

As usual, the court was packed to capacity by both supporters and congregants from the Port Elizabeth branch of his church, who included Omotoso's wife, Taiwo, as well as members of the African National Congress Women's League (ANCWL), who have been calling on the courts to ensure that Omotoso stays behind bars until proven innocent.

The Port Elizabeth Magistrate's Court postponed the case to the 5th of December to allow for further investigations.

It is now understood that the National Director of Public Prosecutions will hear and decide whether the sexual offences and the immigration charges can be prosecuted as a single case or can be pursued separately, which would then require two judges.

The Director of Prosecutions will also decide on whether to take the case to the Port Elizabeth High Court.

There were the usual dramatic scenes outside the court as Omotoso's wife, Taiwo stepped out of the court premises accompanied by her bodyguards, who forcibly tried to ensure that the press could not take photos of her.

They accompanied her to the car where congregants surrounded it to protect her from the press until the car sped off. Ironically, the Port Elizabeth branch of the Jesus Dominion International church is located across the street from the Port Elizabeth Magistrate's Court.

Omotoso has been languishing in the St Albans Prison since his arrest in April. The Port Elizabeeth Magistrate's Court denied him bail for a second time in September.

When his first bail application failedhis wife, Taiwo, appointed a new legal team.

However, the team again failed to convince the courts about new facts that could warrant his release on bail.

Polarised community

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.”

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