Four detectives have travelled to Kenya as part of ongoing investigations into the so-called “miracle babies” controversy, police said today.
Officers from the Metropolitan Police went to Africa as part of inquiries into allegations of child trafficking involving a London-based millionaire preacher.
Self-styled archbishop Gilbert Deya claims he can help women become pregnant by God but it is feared that babies have been stolen from poor mothers.
Authorities in Kenya have arrested five people including a British woman over the investigation and are seeking the extradition of Deya.
Deya has denied being involved in child trafficking, describing the children as gifts from God and claiming he has helped two women in the UK to give birth – one of them having three children in less than 12 months.
British authorities took one of the babies into care after tests revealed its DNA did not match either of its parents.
The Charity Commission has frozen the bank accounts of Deya’s ministry and launched a formal investigation into the group, which has churches in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool and Nottingham.
A Scotland Yard spokesman said today: “We can confirm that officers from the child abuse investigation command have travelled to Kenya as part of ongoing inquiries as to whether offences have been committed.”
He added that police were currently reviewing allegations of child trafficking between the UK and Kenya.
“At this stage the Metropolitan Police Service has made no arrests in connection with this inquiry. Inquiries remain ongoing,” he added.
Police would not say when the officers arrived in Kenya or how long they would be staying there.
Miriam Nyeko was today due to have appeared in court in Nairobi for a preliminary hearing with her co-accused.
Also charged in connection with the case are Kenyans Rose Kiserem and archbishop Deya’s wife Mary.
The three have been accused of stealing an unnamed child from the Pumwami Maternity Hospital in Nairobi in February, according to reports.
The two other Kenyan co-accused are Michael and Eddah Odera, who claim to be the parents of 11 children.
The Oderas feature on the website of the Gilbert Deya Ministries and describe the religious leader as “to whom God gave a vision of a Ministry of miracles”.
Nyeko, originally from Uganda, claims to have given birth to a boy called Daniel in Kenya last month thanks to Deya’s help.
Her husband Charles, a product designer, has insisted the baby was a “miracle from God”.