24 July 2017

South Africa: No Bail Yet for Nigerian Pastor Accused of Human Trafficking, Rape

Photo: Nosipiwo Manona/Premium Times
Nigerian Pastor Timothy Omotoso escorted by South African police (file photo).

A Nigerian pastor charged with human trafficking, sexual assault and the rape of young girls will have to wait more than a month to convince the court to release him on bail.

The Durban-based televangelist, who recently celebrated his 59th birthday behind bars, is alleged to have trafficked more than 30 girls and women, who were from various branches of his church.

He has been in custody since his dramatic arrest at the Port Elizabeth airport on April 20 by members of the SAPS Tactical Task Team.

The pastor was present at proceedings in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate's Court on Monday morning, even though a video crossing from prison had been arranged.

He heard that the first available date for his second bail application on new facts would be on August 29.

State prosecutor Zelda Swanepoel told the court that this was the earliest time that both Magistrate Thandeka Mashiyi and the State would be available.


Defence attorney James Riley confirmed the dates.

"Obviously my client is disappointed by the lengthy delay, but understands," he said.

Mashiyi initially denied the pastor's bail application after he was deemed a flight risk.

At the time, Hawks chief investigating officer Peter Plaatjies told the court how the pastor had a modus operandi similar to that of skilled sex offenders who preyed on young girls.

Plaatjies explained how the pastor had used older women to recruit vulnerable girls, some as young as 13, who came from impoverished communities and who did not have father figures in their lives.

He said these girls would then be vetted, and transported to a house in Durban where the pastor lived. There they would allegedly be pampered, given luxuries and cash, and groomed for alleged sexual encounters with the pastor.

Allegations included that the pastor would have the girls give him full body massages, would make them lie on a bed while he masturbated next to them, before eventually leading to full penetration.


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