Timothy Omotoso and his co-accused Lusanda Sulani and Zukiswa Sitho. Picture: Raahil Sain/ANA

Port Elizabeth - The human trafficking trial of Nigerian pastor Timothy Omotoso was postponed in the Port Elizabeth High Court on Tuesday. 

The trial was due to start from scratch after Judge Mandela Makaula recused himself.

Omotoso faces 63 main charges, including human trafficking, rape and sexual assault. Judge Irma Schoeman will preside over the new trial. 

Omotoso’s co-accused, Lusanda Sulani and Zukiswa Sitho, are accused of recruiting girls from all over the country for purposes of sexual exploitation. 

Defence attorney Peter Daubermann on Tuesday asked the court for a postponement so that he could prepare argument for an application which seeks to compel the State to furnish the defence with further particulars pertaining to the charge sheet. 

State prosecutor Nceba Ntelwa indicated that he would oppose the application. 

Earlier in July, the State provided the defence with further particulars however it would appear that the information provided was not sufficient for Daubermann.

Acting Regional NPA spokesperson Sibulele Mboyi said the postponement was seen as another delaying tactic by the defence. 

“As the State we feel we have provided them with enough information and we can’t provide more details because they looking for things like the dates and times of the incidents and that’s something we can’t provide. 

“We’ve provided them with enough information and we see this as a delaying tactic,” said Mboyi.

The courtroom was packed with media and congregants from the Jesus Dominion International (JDI) Church. 

Security and police were on high alert as congregants gathered in their numbers praying and singing outside the court building. 

The 58-year-old televangelist allegedly trafficked more than 30 girls and women who were from various branches of his church to a house in Umhlanga, KwaZulu-Natal, where he allegedly sexually exploited them.

Omotoso was arrested on April 20, 2017, by the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, at the Port Elizabeth Airport. He has been denied bail on two occasions as he was deemed a flight risk. The women were arrested in November 2017 and are out on bail of R2,000.

The case resumes on Wednesday.

African News Agency (ANA)