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Nigerian pastor to remain in jail

A Nigerian pastor based in Durban made his first appearance in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court on Friday on charges of human trafficking and sexual assault.

The pastor was arrested at the Port Elizabeth Airport on Thursday. The controversial pastor also runs church branches in Port Elizabeth, Cape Town, Johannesburg and in Bloemfontein.

The 58-year-old televangelist allegedly trafficked more than 30 girls and women who were from various branches of his church to a house in Umhlanga, KwaZulu-Natal where he allegedly sexually exploited them.

During court proceedings on Friday, State Prosecutor, Zelda Swanepoel, said that the State was not in a position to proceed with a formal bail application as the pastor’s personal circumstances needed to be verified.

Swanepoel said that the pastor faced four charges, and more charges could possibly be added as the investigation team still needed to travel to other provinces to conduct further investigations.

She indicated that two of the four charges — human trafficking — fell under a schedule six offence and the State would be opposing bail.

“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,” said Swanepoel.

The pastor has no previous convictions or pending cases against his name, according to his attorney Alwyn Griebenow.

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