Ricochet News

VIDEO: Pastor Tim Omotoso bail decision next week, five immigration charges added

By Afikile Lugunya - Aug 30, 2017
VIDEO: Pastor Tim Omotoso bail decision next week, five immigration charges added

Controversial Nigerian televangelist and Senior pastor of the Jesus Dominion International church, Tim Omotoso, will have to wait until the 8th of September to hear if his second bail application succeeded in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate's Court where he was slapped with an additional five charges for contravening the Immigration Act.

This is after it emerged that Omotoso has used five passports to move in and out of South Africa since his first visit in 2001. On Tuesday, the court heard that he was technically an illegal immigrant.

Charges

In addition to the new 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.

He has been languishing at St Albans after his first bail application failed - resulting in his wife, Taiwo, who has been attending the new bail hearings, appointing a new legal team.

Bail based on new facts

New facts that would warrant the Port Elizabeth Magistrate's Court giving Omotoso bail were presented by his new legal team led by Advocate Alwyn Rossouw - and included an urgent application for a document of finger-prints that were taken for his visas.

Advocate Rossouw argued that an illegal immigrant would not have his finger-prints taken, which proves that the accused has the legal right to be in South Africa.

The second fact was the letter dated on the 14th of August 2017 from the Director-General of Home Affairs that was addressed to the accused attorneys, which stated that Omotoso's visa was valid until the 30 August 2017.

“The letter proves that the applicant has always been and is a legal immigrant as the Director-General says in the letter,” Advocate Rossouw told the court.

He referred to many facts from Omotoso's first bail application highlighting how the courts erred in not granting him bail.

However, Magistrate said that the court was now confused as to why Omotoso did not apply for an appeal of the first judgement, but instead chose to make another bail application that is supposedly based on new facts.

Advocate Rossouw went on to list all the good things that the Omotoso was doing for the community - including helping an ex-convict publish a best-selling book, ‘From Crises to Christ’, which was written by Walter Maqabaza.

He also added that Omotoso did not have enough time to prepare for his bail application after his arrest as time was wasted by the police.

Not only that, but Advocate Rossouw also told the court that his client is not a flight risk because at the St Albans Prison, he has access to a telephone that he could’ve used to call people to sneak him out.

In conclusion, he told the court that, “There is not propensity to whether he will skip the country because he can be monitored after his release, why let his congregants suffer by keeping him inside the prison gates.”

The State, represented by Advocate Nceba Ntelwa, brought a senior Immigartion Officer, Ivan Klaasen, to validate the facts about the permit that was brought before the court by the defence.

According to Klaasen, the last paragraph of the letter that was given to Omotoso's attorneys, read: “Should any negative information become known this letter shall become null and void.”

Klaasen explained that when an accused becomes formally charged, they cannot qualify for any permanent Visa.

Advocate Ntelwa argued that Omotoso cannot get bail as there is not proof of where he gets his salary from and how much he draws per month.

The State also argued that the new legal team had not brought before the court new facts as they refer to the first bail application.

National Prosecution Authority (NPA) spokesperson, Tsepo Ndwalaza, informed the press outside the court the NPA was working on getting Omotoso prosecuted on the new five immigration charges .

“As the NPA we did not feel that the facts were new but that will be up to the magistrates to rule on that,” he added.

The Magistrate is expected to make a decision based on what was presented in court on Wednesday, on the 8th of September.