Rape accused televangelist Timothy Omotoso is continuing his “godly” duties from his prison cell in Port Elizabeth.
Since his arrest almost two years ago, Omotoso appears to have been receiving special privileges.
City Press previously reported that Omotoso had been given a single cell, which he has turned into a fashion boutique filled with suits he wears for court appearances.
Now City Press has learnt that he also preaches from his cell, addressing congregants at churches around the country directly, using his cellphone to make the conference calls.
Sources, including his trusted former aides and congregants who attended his Jesus Dominion International churches, confirmed that Omotoso continued to preach to his congregants.
A woman who attended the East London branch of the church during the festive season told City Press about the conversation the congregants had with the man they call “Daddy”.
“I had heard about this pastor and decided to visit the church because it was still open. When I got to [the church in] East London, he called. They bowed down kodwa abamboni [they couldn’t see him]. It looked as if they were worshipping him by listening to his voice,” she said.
Another source, who has been part of Omotoso’s ministry in Port Elizabeth since its inception, said: “He holds sermons using his cellphone. He’s been doing it since shortly after his arrest almost two years ago.”
Another said: “He has a phone in jail – we were told by our inside links at St Albans Correctional Centre that he was supplied a phone through his connections.
“They connect calls via a teleconferencing facility to the different cellphones in different churches. He preaches to all the congregations, giving the same message at the same time on Sundays.
“But since word got around that he is doing his cellphone sermons, they no longer hold them every week – I think it’s because they are avoiding getting caught,” he said.
City Press learnt that since the forced closure of the Jesus Dominion International Church in Port Elizabeth, congregants had devised means to continue the services.
“They hold cellphone meetings in different church members’ homes during the week for prayer sessions,” said another source.
“On Sunday, they gather in larger numbers for the services and wait in anticipation for their beloved miracle man to start preaching.”
Sources from inside St Albans prison told City Press that Omotoso continued to receive special treatment.
“He has exclusive special visiting sessions when his people come to visit; all other visitors are kept at the gate waiting area until he is finished with his extended visitation,” said one.
“We all get 30-minute visits per session, but Omotoso’s visitors stay here for two full hours. The rest of us are just irrelevant inmates who have no privileges.”
Another said: “We’ve even had an incident in which warders were injured when inmates were retaliating about his preferential treatment. They treat him like some sort of god.”
Prison has not appeared to slow Omotoso down.
“He even gets his financial benefits as he did before,” said a church insider.
“Everything else is as usual. He wears his fancy clothes, he eats his special meals as he prefers them and he lives like a king.”
Noziphiwo Dumbela, acting regional commissioner of the correctional services department in the Eastern Cape, said they were not aware of Omotoso or any other inmate having access to high-speed internet.
“I will look into the matter and investigate these allegations extensively because they are very serious and work against our goals and commitment as a department.
“I will investigate all the matters you have raised and appropriate action will be taken against any individuals or collective arrangements done by our staff at the centre in question,” Dumbela said.
Omotoso and his two co-accused face 63 charges and 34 alternative charges, including rape, sexual assault and racketeering.
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