Millionaire archbishop and the miracle babies scandal

Self-styled archbishop Gilbert Deya claims his miracles help childless couples have babies.

But police hunting the millionaire evangelist say he is the mastermind behind an international child-smuggling ring.

The minister is hiding out in Scotland as authorities in his Kenyan homeland prepare an international warrant for his arrest.

Deya – who leads his own church – claims his prayers cause infertile and post-menopausal women to have ‘miracle babies’ without having sex.

But prosecutors in Kenya believe the children are kidnapped from a maternity hospital in Nairobi which is at the centre of a police probe.

Police say the tots are sold to childless British couples for £5000 a time.

Deya’s wife has been charged with abducting a child from the hospital.

Last night, Deya told the Record: ‘I deny the allegations.

‘All I want is justice and I came to Scotland because I believe it is a safe place and beautiful country.’

The man of God cursed Kenyan president Emilio Mwai Kibaki and the country’s attorney general, Amos Wako.

He said: ‘Your children and grandchildren will die in the streets, the way you have left these holy children of Almighty to suffer and be humiliated.’

The British-based minister, who owns a private jet, is the leader of the Gilbert Deya Ministries. They claim more than 30,000 followers in Britain.

But African police believe the church is a front for a child-smuggling racket operating across Britain, Ghana, Nigeria, Uganda and Kenya.

They fear the babies were snatched from Pumwani Maternity, where dozens of newborns disappeared.

Children’s charity Unicef, Scotland Yard and the Charities Commission are investigating Deya’s activities.

Deya’s British-born wife, Mary, appeared in a Nairobi court earlier this month charged with child abduction. Two British women of Ugandan descent and a Kenyan couple were also charged.

Kenyan police raided Deya’s palatial home in the capital, taking 10 children into protective custody.

The Deyas claimed the children are theirs and were born ‘through prayers rather than copulation’.

Officials took another 11 children from 56-year-old miracle mum Eddah Odera and her husband Michael. Both have been charged with child abduction.

Mrs Odera claims Deya’s wife made her pregnant for the first time in 1999 by laying hands on her stomach and saying: ‘Woman, there is a child in your womb.’

Mrs Odera claims her 11 children were conceived within months of each other without having sex and after the menopause.

None of the babies was visible on ante-natal scans.

And DNA tests showed no biological link to Mrs Odera.

More than 20 couples came forward to claim the children after pictures were published in Kenya.

Seventeen of them claim they gave birth at Pumwani but were told their children died shortly after birth.

But Deya insists the children taken from his Nairobi home are his and has vowed to curse anyone trying to claim them.

The former beggar said: ‘The Lord will blow their heads off and scatter their bodies in the street.

‘I am performing miracles in Jesus’s name. These miracle babies are real.

‘It’s not something that I can explain because they are of God and things of God cannot be explained by human beings.’

Deya – who says his miracles cure AIDS – claims to use prayer to exorcise demons inside women who can’t have children. Many of the pregnant women fail pregnancy tests and the ‘miracle babies’ do not show up on scans.

All the miracle mums, most of whom live in the UK, travelled to a back-street clinic in Nairobi to give birth.

Police have shut down the Mama Lucy clinic where the babies were born.

At least three British women have travelled to Kenya for births and another two claim they are expecting after Deya’s intervention.

One miracle child returned to Britain has been taken into care after tests revealed its DNA did not match that of either so-called parent.

It is not known how many British women have had miracle babies but there are waiting lists to see the preacher at the church’s 14 branches in the UK.

The church has a £1million London HQ and congregations in Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham and Nottingham.

Deya claims to have tens of thousands more followers in Africa, Asia and Canada.

Members of the church are expected to donate a tenth of their salary.

Deya claims he was made an archbishop in 1993 by Dr Charles Hardin of the Evangelical Churches of America. He set up a church in London two years later.

His website features a picture of him meeting the Queen and Prince Philip in London in 2002.

Buckingham Palace said it was ‘unfortunate’ if Deya suggested he had any link to the Queen.

The Charities Commission are probing Deya’s ministry, which was registered as a charity in 1996.

Its bank accounts could be frozen today after they gave him a deadline to answer the child-smuggling allegations. A spokesman said: ‘We wrote twice to the trustees after we received concerns over allegations of baby trafficking. So far they have not responded.’

Deya has appointed human rights lawyer Aamar Anwar to fight his extradition.

Mr Anwar expects the Kenyan attorney general to sign an international arrest warrant for Deya this week.

The Glasgow lawyer added: ‘Our sole concern is our client believes he won’t receive a fair trial in Kenya.

‘He denies the allegations and has advised us he may well be killed if he returns to Kenya.

‘He’s also advised us that his mother has gone missing and members of his church have been attacked.’

Deya, who publicly donated funds to the Kenyan president’s election campaign, believes the authorities in his homeland are pursuing a political vendetta against him.

Mr Anwar added: ‘He believes this is political and religious persecution.

‘He had close relationships with members of the government as well as the opposition.

‘He also believes there is resentment from more established churches who are perhaps jealous of the rapid growth in his church.’


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Religion News Blog posted this on Monday September 13, 2004.
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