A London woman is wanted by police in Kenya over claims she was involved in smuggling babies into Britain.
Edith Unegbu faces extradition over the “miracle babies” scandal linked to controversial self-styled archbishop Gilbert Deya.
He claims to be able to make women pregnant through the power of prayer – but authorities say the babies were stolen from poor Kenyan women and sold to childless British couples.
Detectives have applied for a warrant for the arrest of Ms Unegbu, of Tottenham, amid allegations she attempted to fly two babies and the remains of a dead child from Nairobi to London. It is expected to be issued within weeks.
Superintendent Lillian Kiamba, of Kenyan CID, said: “The paperwork is with the attorney general and in the meantime we want to send officers to Britain to make further inquiries.”
Mr Deya’s wife Mary and two other women – one of them Miriam Nyeko from London – have gone on trial in Kenya on charges of stealing babies.
They face up to seven years in prison if found guilty of being part of a plot to dupe infertile women into believing they conceived through prayer – while supplying them with children stolen from slums in Nairobi.
Today neighbours of Ms Unegbu told how she twice suddenly appeared with young babies despite never having been visibly pregnant.
One neighbour, who did not want to be named, said: “She was living there with no babies then suddenly she appeared with a baby. No one knew she was pregnant.”-Another neighbour said she thought Ms Unegbu had gone away last summer to have two more children.
“The man she is living with told me,” she said. “I saw him last summer and asked how Edith was. She had gone back home. He said, ‘She’s fine. She’s just had twins.'”
But social services and police, acting on information from the British High Commission, took the children into care.
The neighbour said: “Police handcuffed her and the man she was living with and took them away. Social workers also took the newborn baby. But two days later the couple were back without the baby.”
Documents seen by the Evening Standard detail how, in October 2003, Ms Unegbu applied to the British High Commission for a visa to bring a newborn baby back to the UK. Officials had doubts about her relationship with the infant and suspected the baby’s birth certificate was a fake.
They granted her permission to travel on condition that further checks were conducted in Britain.
She also repatriated the remains of a dead baby on that trip. Subsequent DNA tests revealed she was not related to either baby.
The suspicions did not prevent Ms Unegbu returning to Kenya and attempting to leave with a third baby last June. On that occasion she was not granted a visa for the baby and returned alone.
According to internal police memos, detectives believe the alleged child trafficking ring operated for five years.
Mr Deya – whose Gilbert Deya Ministries is based in Peckham and has 36,000 UK members – is alleged to have masterminded the operation. He remains in Britain where he is fighting extradition.
The Kenyan authorities have taken 21 children into protective custody. Ten were seized from the Nairobi home of the Deyas. Mrs Deya denies the charges.