Kenyan prosecutors may soon have a chance to present in court controversial preacher Gilbert Deya of the “miracle babies” infamy after a court in the United Kingdom threw out his case challenging deportation.
A bench of two High Court judges on Wednesday dismissed Deya’s case and lashed out at government officials for allowing the preacher to use dubious claims to stretch the case in court for over a decade, according to multiple media reports.
Lord Justice Gross and Sir Kenneth Parker last week said it was “little short of scandalous” that Mr Deya’s case that was filed in 2007 had taken so long to conclude, spanning across three governments.
After the verdict, a UK Home Office spokesman told London-based publication The Telegraph that arrangements were being made for the 65-year-old’s extradition to Kenya.
Once he is handed over to Kenyan authorities, allegations that the preacher coordinated the trafficking of children, who his church would later present as miracles for barren mothers, are likely to earn him a date in court.
Kenyan police allege that the preacher stole five children between May 1999 and December 2004 at Pumwani Maternity Hospital to facilitate his “miracle babies” project.
He was arrested in 2006 but before he could be charged in Kenya, he moved to the High Court in the UK asking for protection against his extradition, denying committing any wrong in Kenya.
That case has dragged in court for the last one decade, and in between, Mr Deya has given a number of reasons why he should not be sent to back to his home country.
Among them is an order he produced in court two months ago purporting that it was from the High Court in Kenya and that it was blocking any prosecution. The order was found to be fake and he was jailed for that, according to Telegraph.
In 2011, he tabled affidavits which he claimed had been sworn by prison wardens who were admitting torturing prisoners. The Kenyan government disowned the statements.
At one point, the British Home Secretary had to send Lord Ramsbotham, a former chief inspector of prisons, to assess the situation at Kamiti Maximum Prison.
The former inspector visited Kamiti in 2013 and later reported that there was nothing wrong.
In between, Home secretaries Jacqui Smith, Theresa May (before she became Prime Minister) and Amber Rudd ordered Deya’s extradition in 2008, 2011 and 2016.
During that time also, Mr Deya’s wife Mary was handed a three-year jail term in 2005 after a magistrate found her guilty of stealing a baby on September 10, 2005 at the Kenyatta National Hospital, and giving false information to a doctor that she had given birth to the child.
As that went on, the preacher kept propping up one issue or another that led to delays in hearing the case, and that did not escape the mention of the judges when they gave their final word on his judicial review case.
UK’s Daily Mail quoted Lord Justice Gross, one of the judges saying the delay was shocking.
“The delay in this matter is truly alarming. The claimant was initially arrested in December 2006. It is little short of scandalous that the proceedings have taken until now to resolve. It is essential that cases such as this are firmly ‘gripped’ by the SSHD to guard against incremental and massive slippage of this nature. The court will be more than willing to play its part,” the judge said.
Mr Deya is an archbishop of his church that is based in Peckham, a district south east of London. It is for that reason that the man whose ancestral home is in Bondo calls himself “the Archbishop of Peckham”. He is believed to have 36,000 followers in the UK