A British-based preacher who claims to perform miracles on women unable to have babies is being investigated in connection with an alleged child-trafficking ring that spans five countries, Kenyan police said yesterday.
The wife of self-proclaimed archbishop Gilbert Deya, who is based in Peckham, south-east London, and four others were charged in Nairobi with stealing two babies.
One of the infants, Deya says, is one of several “miracle babies” he claims have been born to barren or post-menopausal women following intercession through his church. The other, he claimed, was his own child, one of twins born to his wife, Mary.
Prosecutor Moses Odoyo told the court the investigation into alleged child-trafficking involves suspects in Britain, Ghana, Nigeria and Uganda, as well as Kenya.
Police are investigating allegations that Deya’s claims are a cover for child-trafficking, said spokesman Jaspher Ombati.
“The wife is in custody and we believe they might be working together and the miracle babies are said to be connected to his ministry,” Mr Ombati said. “So investigations are on and once they are complete and, if it is felt that he is connected, he will be required to come here for necessary action.”
Deya’s Kenyan wife, Mary Juma Deya another Kenyan woman, Rose Kiserem and a Ugandan-born woman who holds a British passport, Miriam Nyeko, were charged with stealing a baby girl in February from Nairobi’s Pumwani Maternity Hospital.
A Kenyan couple, Michael and Eddha Odera, were charged with stealing a boy under the age of 14 in 2000, from Njokerio Farm in Njoro, 87 miles north-west of the capital. All pleaded innocent to the charges.
Mrs Odera and her husband insisted after the court hearing that she had borne 13 children over a period of five years – a baby every four months – without sexual intercourse after prayers had been said for them by Deya and his wife, a pastor in the Gilbert Deya Ministries.
Police raided the Odera and Deya homes in Kenya after the court hearing and took more than 20 children into protective custody where DNA samples have been taken from them to try to establish their true identities.
From London, where Gilbert Deya has his church HQ, the Kenyan cleric said all the babies were miracles because they were invisible on hospital scans to detect pregnancies.