Travel documents come under scrutiny in Timothy Omotoso case

2017-05-12 17:57

Rape-accused pastor Timothy Omotoso appeared in court 22 at the Port Elizabeth Magistrates’ Court on Friday.

Home affairs immigration officer, Ivan Classen, gave a report of the investigation he conducted on the legality of Omotoso’s travelling documents.

Classen said, contrary to what had been presented before court in Omotoso’s appearance last week, he had six – and not four – passports as his legal team had said.

Classen said he could not access the first passport, which had been issued in May 2000.

Classen said Omotoso’s visa could not be confirmed and that South African law obliged Nigerians to enter the country under the strict condition of being in possession of a visa.

He said on July 18 of the same year, Omotoso travelled to Botswana from South Africa and made an application for a work permit at the South African embassy in Botswana.

“He was granted a work permit, which was based on his application stating that he was in South Africa employed by Jesus Agency International in Sunnyside, Pretoria, as an overseer and founding member of the church,” said Classen.

“On the same day he travelled back to South Africa and his permit was not scanned,” said Classen.

He said Omotoso had used the same visa to travel in and out of the country three times, despite its single entry status.

“He travelled in August 2000, leaving South Africa; he travelled again in October 2000, entering South Africa and lastly departed in June 2001,” said Classen.

He said there was a second passport that was amended on the basis of a temporary residence for a holiday.

“This permit was issued in July 2000 in a Pretoria office,” said Classen.

Classen drew a picture of several South African immigration laws being flouted during Omotoso’s travelling and staying in South Africa in the past 17 years.

He said Omotoso was granted a temporary status which could be renewed for a maximum of three years, which he never had activated

“He illegally renewed this document for a period of four years, despite it never ever being activated,” he said.

“This is in contravention of immigration laws and conditions,” he said.

He said according to various laws of immigration, a lot of suspicious activity took place in the various ports of entry where Omotoso entered and left the country.

“For instance, the amendments are illegal where there was never an activation,” he said.

Classen said over a period between 2002 and 2004 more suspicious activity took place pertaining to Omotoso’s documents.

“There were referrals done on documents that were supposedly in certain pages in his documents; yet the pages referred to are blank and have no previous history,” he said.

Alfonso Hatting, representing Omotoso, said his client could not be blamed for human error on the part of immigration officers.

He requested that the application forms of the last passport be made available to court.

The case was remanded until May 23. Omotoso continues to remain in custody.

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March 18 2018