Nigerian Pastor Timothy Omotoso who was arrested on charges of human trafficking and sexual assault has been remanded behind bars.
The Nigerian televangelist made his first court appearnce in Port Elizabeth on Friday following his arrest on Thursday.
The 58-year-old televangelist was nabbed after it emerged that he trafficked more than 30 girls and women who were from various branches of his church to his house in Umhlanga, KZN, where he allegedly exploited them sexually.
State prosecutor Zelda Swanepoel said during his court appearance on Friday, that the pastor’s personal circumstances needs to be verified as the state is not in a position to proceed with a formal bail application.
Swanepoel disclosed that more charges could be added but that it would be after the investigators must have completed further investigations in other provinces.
BuzzSouthAfrica understands that Omotoso also runs church branches in Port Elizabeth, Cape Town, Johannesburg and in Bloemfontein.
The prosecutor indicated that the state would be in opposition to his bail since two of the four charges — human trafficking – fall under a schedule 6 offence.
“The state is not in a position to proceed with any bail application, the accused was only arrested last night. Nothing of his personal particulars, including his address, his passport and authority to be in the country — nothing has been determined,” Swanepoel explained.
Omotoso’s attorney Alwyn Griebenow said he wants a formal bail application to proceed as soon as next week, saying his client is a “well-known” head of an international church and has been living in South Africa for the past 19 years.
Meanwhile, the matter has been postponed to May 3 for a formal bail application.
This was confirmed by the National Prosecution Authority (NPA) via its member Tshepo Ndwalaza.
“We can confirm as the NPA that indeed Pastor Omotoso has been remanded in custody until 3 May because he wants to apply for bail,” Ndwalaza said.
Political groups from across the country have since condemned the pastor. The Economic Freedom Fighters, African National Congress and ANC Womens’ League were among the parties calling for the pastor to be dealt with.