The long-awaited extradition of controversial London-based Kenyan preacher Gilbert Deya may happen soon, the Sunday Nation has learnt.
Impeccable sources confirmed that the preacher, who is wanted in Kenya on child-trafficking charges, is now a failed asylum seeker currently ordered to report weekly to Deptford police station in South London.
The new details of Mr Deya’s complex and costly legal tussle emerged on November 2, after it became apparent that he had exhausted all avenues of appeal in the United Kingdom. It is believed legal costs amounted to more than £1 million (Sh124 million).
“Deya’s extradition is not a question of if but when. He’s living on borrowed time; the net is finally closing in; he could be extradited from London before Christmas,” said a well-placed source.
He may be extradited to Nairobi under the Extradition Act 2003 on the request of the Kenya Government. The televangelist, who runs his Gilbert Deya Ministries from Ormside Road, Peckham, South London, with 34,000 followers, is now subjected to the Immigration Act 1971 – legislation that gives immigration officers power to detain a person who has been served notice of administrative removal from the UK.
He applied for political asylum in the UK in September 2004 claiming his life was in danger following reports that Kenyan authorities wanted to question him over child-trafficking allegations. The British Home Office turned down the application in 2006 although Mr Deya appealed the decision, forcing him to maintain a low profile until his dramatic arrest at a Sheriff’s Court in Scotland in June 2006.
In January 2008, the then British Home Secretary Jacqui Smith ordered Mr Deya to be extradited to Kenya over the alleged “miracle babies” scandal, but he moved to the High Court to challenge the extradition order. After the High Court in London dismissed his appeal, Mr Deya took his case to the Court of Appeal.
On November 27, 2008, two Court of Appeal judges sitting at the Royal Courts of Justice in London refused to grant him permission to appeal to the House of Lords against the order to extradite him to Kenya. House of the Lords served as the court of last resort in most instances of UK law until October 1, 2009, when this role was assumed by the new Supreme Court of the United Kingdom.
At the hearing of Case No CO/11637/2007 of Deya vs Government of Kenya (2008) at the Administrative Court of the Court of Appeal’s Civil Division, the Kenyan’s lawyers argued that his case should be certified as one raising issues of general public importance that should be considered by the Law Lords, but this was rejected by Lord Justices John Dyson and Griffith Williams who heard the appeal.
The Kenyan preacher said he would take the appeal to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), but it emerged on November 3 that Deya’s legal team in London did not make the move as previously believed.
Extensive enquiries at ECHR offices in Strasbourg, France, confirmed that Mr Deya didn’t lodge an application to challenge the UK’s extradition order. “We don’t have an application in respect of Mr Deya at the ECHR,” said Celine Menu-Lange, an ECHR official in an email to the Sunday Nation on Tuesday.
Mr Deya is wanted in Kenya on five counts of abducting children aged between 22 months and four-and-a-half years between 1999 and 2004. His wife Mary Deya and two other women – Miriam Nyeko and Rose Kiserem – were jailed for two years in May 2007 by a Nairobi court for stealing a child.
The decision whether to extradite Mr Deya’s will be made by the UK Home Secretary Alan Johnson. A Home Office spokeswoman told the Sunday Nation: “We don’t comment on extradition matters because of legal and security reasons.”
In fighting extradition, Mr Deya has argued that he is the victim of a political vendetta in Kenya and said his human rights would be compromised by the poor conditions in Kenyan prisons. He said that before he came to Britain in 1996, he had publicly condemned the then Kenyan President Daniel arap Moi. “Speak against him and you will be killed,” he said, adding that “if I return, I will not receive a fair trial and I will be punished.”
The former stonemason, who has posted pictures of himself meeting the Queen and Prince Philip on his website, Mr Deya claims his powers have enabled 22 infertile women to have children. He claims that he has the power to give “miracle babies” to infertile and post-menopausal women members of his evangelical church.
Police in Nairobi say their investigations revolve around the disappearance of babies from Nairobi’s Pumwani Maternity Hospital and involve suspects in Britain, Ghana, Nigeria, Uganda and Kenya. When the Sunday Nation called the Kenyan’s South London offices, a woman demanded a donation before connecting this writer to Mr Deya.
“We need a donation to Gilbert Deya Ministries. Do you need a prayer?’’ asked the woman. “The archbishop is here in the studio recording a broadcast. You will speak to him shortly after I take your donation,” she said. But she hung up when hearing the reason for the call.