Nigerian pastor Timothy Omotoso back in court for rape in January

The case against Nigerian televangelist Timothy Omotoso has been postponed to January.

This is for the defence to bring another application for the judge to reconsider her previous judgment on the application for discharge according to section 174 of the Criminal Procedure Act.

On Wednesday, Omotoso and his co-accused – Lusanda Sulani and Zikiswa Sitho – appeared in the high court of South Africa sitting in Gqeberha where the matter was moved to January 16.

The trio faces 32 charges including racketeering, trafficking in persons for sexual purposes, rape, and sexual assault.

According to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), the defence served a notice on accused persons and the court for additional entries of irregularities or illegalities it alleged were committed by former prosecutors in the matter.

The trial has experienced numerous delays since the arrest of Omotoso in April 2017.

The delays led to some witnesses withdrawing from testifying in court, indicating that they had since moved on with their lives and were no longer interested in reliving their experiences in court.

That led to the reduction of the criminal charges that the trio faces from 63 to 32 counts.

The Jesus Dominion International Church founder was denied bail while his co-accused, two South African women, are out on bail.

Omotoso had major branches in South Africa, Nigeria, and Israel, with Durban being the church’s headquarters in the country.

Women selected for sexual activities

According to testimonies from more than 10 witnesses – congregants, employees and young women were recruited under the pretense that they would benefit spiritually or notice an improvement in the quality of their lives.

Instead, they were selected to take part in sexual activities for Omotoso’s pleasure.

NPA spokesperson Luxolo Tyali said the state remains committed to ensuring that the case is finalised as soon as possible, so that justice is served for the victims.

“Omotoso allegedly directly or indirectly through his co-accused paid and arranged for the complainants to travel to his hotels in Durban, Israel, or Nigeria,” Tyali said.

“However, once the complainants arrived, Omotoso or his assistants would inform them [the complainants] of house rules which included that their cellphones be switched off.

“Omotoso would allegedly select one of the complainants to go to his private bedroom where he raped or sexually assaulted them.”

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