Evangelist dismisses child-trafficking charges as a set-up

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The Independent Online

As a defence, the protestations yesterday of a Kenyan preacher accused of child trafficking were not as immaculate as the conceptions of the "miracle babies" he says he facilitated. Self-styled Archbishop Gilbert Deya, who says he was ordained by the United Evangelical Church of Kenya, is fighting possible extradition to Kenya, where police are investigating allegations that he has links to child-trafficking.

As a defence, the protestations yesterday of a Kenyan preacher accused of child trafficking were not as immaculate as the conceptions of the "miracle babies" he says he facilitated. Self-styled Archbishop Gilbert Deya, who says he was ordained by the United Evangelical Church of Kenya, is fighting possible extradition to Kenya, where police are investigating allegations that he has links to child-trafficking.

The pastor, whose Gilbert Deya ministries boasts 36,000 members in Britain, as well as branches in Europe, Africa and Asia, claims to have helped infertile women conceive "miracle babies" by prayer.

The London-based evangelist claims that the power of prayer had been responsible for the births of at least four babies to two British women ­ one of whom he claims has had three children in 12 months, with another on the way ­ and the conception by a 38-year-old infertile London student.

Earlier this month, the Charity Commission announced it had frozen the bank accounts of the Gilbert Deya Ministries and launched a formal investigation into the group.

The moves were made in response to fears raised by Kenyan authorities that the Archbishop and his church are involved in a child-smuggling racket involving Britain, Ghana, Nigeria, Uganda and Kenya.

Already, 21 babies have been taken into care in Kenya after DNA tests found none of them were biologically related to their "mothers". Police received complaints from 12 couples who claim their babies had been abducted. Authorities in London have also taken one child into care after tests revealed that its DNA did not match either of its "parents".

Earlier this month, Mr Deya's wife was charged with stealing a child from Nairobi's Pumwani Maternity Hospital.

"My wife and I are innocent," said Mr Deya, 52, who claimed he was being persecuted by the authorities because of his former links with former president Daniel arap Moi and his ruling Kanu clique.

Mr Deya maintains that children born to his followers were conceived by God, and yesterday called upon two midwives, a Ugandan-qualified vet and an apparently expectant mother to prove it.

Deonna Dakkins-Scott, 38, from Plumstead, south-east London, claims to be nine and a half months pregnant, despite having had both her fallopian tubes removed. The IT student claimed that she fell pregnant last December after Mr Deya prayed over her.

Despite six medical examinations ruling out pregnancy, Mrs Dakkins-Scott showed off her bump yesterday. "I don't know when the baby will be born. It is a miracle baby from God and he will decide. It could take longer than nine months."