Fri. Sep 22nd, 2023

A controversial Kenyan televangelist, who claimed he created miraculous pregnancies, has been acquitted of child-trafficking charges due to insufficient evidence.

The prosecution failed to prove that Gilbert Deya stole five children two decades ago, a Kenyan magistrate said.

He had been accused of handing them to women struggling to become pregnant.

The self-styled pastor was extradited from the UK in 2017, after his decade-long legal battle to remain failed.

Concerns were first raised about the conduct of Mr Deya, who ran a church in London, in a BBC investigation in 2004.

Women experiencing difficulties conceiving who attended the Gilbert Deya Ministries church in Peckham, south-east London, were told they could have “miracle” babies.

But the babies were always “delivered” in backstreet clinics in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi. The prosecution said the babies were stolen from poor Kenyan families.

Mr Deya later moved to Scotland, and was arrested in Edinburgh in 2006 under an international arrest warrant issued by Kenya.

In his ruling on Monday, magistrate Robison Ondieki said the prosecution had “failed to establish circumstantial evidence”.

Speaking outside court where his supporters cheered him on, Mr Deya said that he had forgiven those who wanted to see him in jail.

“Today I’m acquitted of this kind of burden, a yoke on my shoulder… it has damaged my reputation,” he told reporters, adding that it was “sad that I have been labelled as a child stealer”.

“I’m grateful that I’m free. I’m now going to continue to proceed to the mission that Jesus gave to me on earth.”

He hinted that he may seek to return to the UK.

In 2011, Mary Deya, Mr Deya’s then wife, was jailed after being found guilty of stealing a baby from the main referral hospital in Kenya’s capital Nairobi and falsely stating she had given birth to the baby.

By Joy

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