New charge added to list against Pastor Tim Omotoso

New charge added to list against Pastor Tim Omotoso

Pastor accused of sex crimes allegedly in SA illegally

A Nigerian pastor facing a string of sex crimes had another count added to his lengthy charge sheet in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court yesterday, when the state opted to charge him with being in the country illegally.

At the same time, the city’s high court ordered the minister of police to transport Timothy Omotoso to the Visa Facilitation Centre last night so he could apply for an extension on his work visa which is due to expire today.

The new charge, as well as the high court proceedings, saw Omotoso’s latest bid for bail, which had been set down for yesterday, postponed again.

The senior pastor at the Jesus Dominion International Church, which has branches across the country, appeared briefly in the magistrate’s court yesterday morning, where his prominent new legal team said his latest shot at freedom – in the form of a bail application based on new facts – rested on the outcome of the application before the high court.

While the minister of police was initially opposed to the application, by 3pm yesterday and shortly after Omotoso was charged with being an illegal immigrant, they had agreed to assist him with his application for a new work visa.

Omotoso, 59, said in court papers that his attorneys had, since last month, been battling to obtain a copy of his fingerprints for a police clearance certificate needed for the visa application.

Last week, they eventually complied. However, the police minister refused to transport Omotoso from St Albans Prison to the Visa Facilitation Centre in Walmer.

Advocate Mzamo Nobathana said that taking Omotoso to the visa centre was a private matter and not the responsibility of the police or prison authorities.

But by late yesterday afternoon, counsel had come to an agreement, which Judge Glenn Goosen then made an order of court.

Omotoso said his general work visa had been extended on numerous occasions, with the most recent extension being on September 29.

He said he had been living in South Africa since 2000.

“If I am unable to extend my visa timeously, I would be forced to leave the Republic and apply for a new work visa from my home country,” he said.

Meanwhile, the latest charge relates to allegations by the Department of Home Affairs that Omotoso is in the country illegally.

Home Affairs officer Ivan Klaasen had testified during the initial bail application in May that Omotoso had six passports and had been issued with eight visas or work permits after 2000, when he entered South Africa for the first time.

Klaasen said when Omotoso entered the country in August 2000, the barcode on his visa was never activated, meaning it was not scanned at the port of entry.

He said that, therefore, every document issued after that became null and void.

The controversial pastor faces 22 charges related to contravention of the Sexual Offences Act, including two counts of rape.

Some of the complainants are as young as 13.

Omotoso was denied bail in June due to his being a flight risk, among other reasons.

Story: Kathryn Kimberley

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Nigerians in South Africa
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