A controversial preacher who claims to have helped infertile women conceive “miracle babies” last night dismissed allegations that his church is fronting a child trafficking ring after his wife and four others appeared in a Kenyan court.
Self-styled Archbishop Gilbert Deya, 52, who runs one of Britain’s fastest growing Evangelical churches, said his wife had been “falsely accused” after she was charged with stealing a child from the Pumwani Hospital, in Nairobi.
The London based preacher also denounced suggestions that he is being investigated by detectives probing the smuggling of babies from Kenya into the UK.
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Church leaders and medical experts have aired fears that the “miracle babies” are simply children stolen from poor Kenyan women and smuggled into the country.
The Church of England and the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology have called on the Metropolitan Police to investigate the situation, in addition to work by the Kenyan authorities.
It follows bold suggestions that infertile members of Mr Deya’s congregation have fallen pregnant as a result of “miracles“.
He last night stood by his claims and vowed he had “never” been involved in child trafficking.
“I have never trafficked a baby and these people don’t know what they are talking about,” Mr Deya said last night from his south London ministry.
He claimed that the child at the centre of his wife’s charges is their own daughter, one of nine children seized by police at the preacher’s Kenyan home.
In a statement the preacher said: “May I refute the allegation that has been put upon my wife that we have stolen our baby Naomi.
“Naomi was a twin with the late Jeremiah and we have proof of their birth in the video camera. I am so concerned the way the authorities in Kenya are trying to confuse people.
“The allegation is a lie, an assassination attempt and it has been fabricated to destroy the name of my ministry, which is well-known and respected world-wide.”
Five defendants appeared before the chief magistrate’s court in Nairobi on Monday and are due back in court on November 3 and 4.
They included Mrs Deya and Miriam Nyeko, a British national, accused of stealing an unnamed child from the Pumwani Maternity Hospital, in Nairobi, in February this year.
Reports said one of her co-accused, Rose Kiserem, is also British but a Kenyan embassy spokesman said he had seen no evidence to suggest that.
Nyeko claims to have given birth to a boy called Daniel in Kenya last month thanks to Archbishop Deya’s help.
Mr Deya said that she travelled to the country after British doctors refused to acknowledge her pregnancy and claims he has a video of her labour.
Her husband Charles, a product designer, told earlier this month how it was a “miracle from God”, but Kenyan authorities are insisting on DNA tests to determine the parentage of the child.
Mr Deya’s church was registered as a charity in Britain in 1996 and has some 36,000 members in Britain as well as branches in Europe, Africa and Asia.
His worshippers are said to travel to Kenya where they apparently give birth to babies within days in backstreet clinics in the slums of Nairobi.
Concerns over their authenticity have been further fuelled by the fact the children’s DNA, where tested, does not match their supposed mothers.
The Charity Commission launched an investigation in 2000 after worried relatives of church-goers complained of their increasingly bizarre behaviour.
Archbishop Deya was the subject of investigation by child protection bodies after allegedly conducting exorcisms on young children.
Also in court on Monday were Kenyans Michael and Eddah Odera, who claim to be the parents of 11 children, the East African Standard said.
The Oderas feature on Archbishop Deya’s website and describe the religious leader as “to whom God gave a vision of a Ministry of miracles”.
The couple are accused of stealing a child in Kenya in January 2000.
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