Controversial Nigerian pastor Tim Omotoso of the Jesus Dominion International Church in Durban, is being sought by the Hawks for allegedly abusing young girls at his Umhlanga house.
According to an expose by SABC 3’s Special Assignment on Monday, he allegedly handpicked the girls and instructed them to live in his house in Umhlanga where they were forced to have unprotected sex with him.
Hawk’s spokesperson, Lt-Col Robert Netshiunda, said Omotoso had gone to ground and all three cellphones linked to him had been deactivated.
“We are investigating the matter and we will only lay charges after getting him,” Netshiunda said.
Omotoso allegedly molested more than 30 young girls on the pretext of rescuing them from drugs.
Some of the girls had reportedly dropped out of the University of KwaZulu-Natal while others began travelling while singing for the pastor’s group, known as Simply Christolite.
Bishop Vusi Dube of the National Interfaith Council of SA said he had always had reservations about the way Omotoso conducted himself.
Dube claimed he had to personally intervene after Omotoso took 2014 Idols contestants, the Mxakaza twins, Anele and Aneliswa, to his Umhlanga house after a plea from their mother Gloria.
He said he had to abandon his bid to return them home after Gloria started receiving death threats from members of Omotoso’s church.
“We could not get there as he was heavily protected by bodyguards and some SAPS members who attend his church. The twins then dumped him and returned home after a short stint in the Umhlanga house,” Dube said.
Sipho Mnyakeni, the manager who later worked with the twins after breaking away from Omotoso, said: “I had no reason to suspect anything, as they had great respect for that pastor and had only positive things to say about him.”
Dube said: “I challenge all honest Nigerian pastors to condemn this. If they don’t, there will be assumptions that they have no problem with this behaviour.”
Hawks deny bungling arrest of famous prophet Omotoso
The Hawks have denied bungling the arrest of renowned Prophet Timothy Omotoso. The unit was due to arrest him at an Easter crusade in Bloemfontein on Friday, but allegedly arrived after he had left.
Omotoso, founder of the Jesus Dominion International Church, is alleged to have sexually abused women congregants, some as young as 14.
On Monday night, the SABC’s Special Assignment aired harrowing accounts of some of the alleged victims. The charismatic pastor who’s seemingly gone to ground has more victims come forward.
The prophet is said to have lured them to his upmarket Umhlanga home, slept with them and refused to let them go.
The church’s website indicates a global outreach.
The Hawks were hot on Omotoso’s trail, but the elite unit has poured cold water on allegations that Omotoso slipped away.
Hawks Robert Netshiunda says, “When we go to arrest a suspect and he is not there, we cannot always be to blame. It’s not that we dragged our feet. We went there on schedule. We are quite aware that the suspect was not there perhaps because of a tip off, but our case is tight and very strong, not bungled.”
Police say they are taking statements from more victims and vow to have Omotoso behind bars before the end of the week.
Attempts to contact his lawyer were unsuccessful.
‘Sex-pest’ pastor cuffed at PE airport
Controversial Nigerian pastor Timothy Omotoso arrived at the Port Elizabeth airport shortly after 3pm this afternoon [20/04/17] where he was arrested by a large police contingent.
Omotoso, 58, allegedly sexually abused scores of young women.
Shortly before his arrival defence advocate Terry Price, who was waiting for his client at the airport, got into a verbal argument with member of the Hawks as he question whether they would be arresting the pastor.
Omotoso was handcuffed and escorted from the airport by a number of police officers.
Earlier today it was confirmed that top Port Elizabeth defence attorney Alwyn Griebenow will represent Omotoso. Griebenow confirmed that he was Omotoso’s attorney and that he and Price would be meeting with the Hawks.
Omotoso arrived at the Hawks premises in King Edward Street, Newton Park, shortly after being escorted from the airport.
While reports were circulating that Omotoso was planning to hand himself over to the Hawks, Griebenow said his client was only meeting with police.
“He is not planning to hand himself over. The police have not indicated that there is a warrant of arrest. He will meet with them later but it is only an interview,” Griebenow told The Herald.
The Nigerian evangelist came under scrutiny after his church featured on current affairs programme Special Assignment on Sunday. The programme spoke to women who claimed that they were lured into performing sexual favours for the pastor.