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TX: 22.04.05 - Miracle Babies

PRESENTER: JOHN WAITE
Downloaded from www.bbc.co.uk/radio4

THE ATTACHED TRANSCRIPT WAS TYPED FROM A RECORDING AND NOT COPIED FROM AN ORIGINAL SCRIPT. BECAUSE OF THE RISK OF MISHEARING AND THE DIFFICULTY IN SOME CASES OF IDENTIFYING INDIVIDUAL SPEAKERS, THE BBC CANNOT VOUCH FOR ITS COMPLETE ACCURACY.

WAITE
The latest now on the miracle babies - the children supposedly given by God to infertile British women who are members of a UK based church movement led by Kenyan born archbishop Gilbert Deya, who claims to be a miracle worker. The women, you'll recall, would travel to Kenya where the miraculous births would take place and they would then bring the babies back to Britain. Well in our investigation last summer for our sister programme Face the Facts I first reported suspicions that child trafficking lay behind these so-called miracles and that programme prompted the Kenyan police to take immediate action. Members of the Gilbert Deya ministries church in Africa, including the archbishop's wife Mary Deya, were arrested and more than 20 supposed miracle children were taken into care. A High Court judge in London later ruled that one of the babies brought back into the UK was indeed the victim of traffickers motivated by greed.

So what do members of the church's British congregation make of the revelations? Well recently we were approached by a married couple who were members of the Gilbert Deya ministries church in Manchester but who decided to leave following the Face the Facts broadcast. Magadi Ngiama and her husband Jonas told me that during their time as followers of Archbishop Deya, Ngiama was assured that she was pregnant through a miracle and expecting twins. As we talked about Ngiama's story she began by explaining how she first came to be a member of the Gilbert Deya ministries.

MAGADI NGIAMA
I heard about the Gilbert Deya ministry because as a Christian most of the time we want to see miracle, we believe in miracle. So we see miracle, I joined the ministry.

WAITE
And Jonas you were a member too.

JONAS
Yes, I was an active member and since the first day it was miracles, miracles happening - miracle. You can see different kinds of a disease being healed, ladies with difficulties in pregnancy get - become pregnant. So amazing - amazing miracles.

WAITE
What did you make of Gilbert Deya?

MAGADI NGIAMA
Yeah the condition regarding us - respect the man, you know, that man of God.

JONAS
Well I went to the ministry through - I read in the newspaper about someone who was healed from HIV. I was really surprised, let me go to see the man that was healed. So I went and I met him - Gilbert Deya - and he was the one who showed me the man who was healed, it was so amazing. From that day I fell in love with the ministry, I fell in love with him.

WAITE
He became closer to you Magadi when you were getting married.

MAGADI NGIAMA
Yes, every time he was seeing me he would tell me married woman, married woman before even I get married the wife was coming from Kenya to here ...

WAITE
This is Mary Deya.

MAGADI NGIAMA
Mary Deya, yes. He would tell the wife to pray for me. And so the wife would touch my womb and pray for me, who said you will receive your baby, your miracle baby, like that. So the day of our wedding, after the ceremony, he called the women at the front to pray for them, the other women who want their babies and then he pray for us falling on ...

WAITE
On the ground.

MAGADI NGIAMA
... on the ground. So especially me, when I fell like that I felt a movement here in my umbrical ...

WAITE
From the umbilical cord.

MAGADI NGIAMA
Yes, you felt the movement, just straightaway you felt a movement. Later on I went to see the GP, I went to see the GP, the GP told me there was nothing, there was no baby. But in the November now my tummy - if you see my tummy now it has gone down but it was big. I can show you ...

WAITE
Just having a look at some photos now of Magadi.

MAGADI NGIAMA
Yes that's how my tummy was big.

WAITE
Magadi's showing me a photograph and you were very big weren't you, it looks as if you were pregnant.

MAGADI NGIAMA
Yes it was exactly [indistinct words] everything like a pregnant woman.

WAITE
And when you heard that your wife was pregnant what was your reaction?

JONAS
I was happy, this is a typical African man, when you get married the next step is having children, that was what I was expecting to have children. We went to many doctors, hospital, others - consultant - they said negative, negative. We didn't care about their advice, we didn't - why? Because we were so aware and you believe that this is one of many miracles that's happened today, oh it is nothing, let's keep to our faith in God and that's what we did.

WAITE
You were convinced by Mr Deya that she was pregnant?

JONAS
Well I was a member there, so I was convinced.

MAGADI NGIAMA
As other mothers, when you are pregnant, yeah, you are happy and just waiting for the baby to come. So I went away telling me that you have a baby, you have a baby, [indistinct words] I said I will have that baby since this is miracle baby and they prophesised twins. I was just waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting.

WAITE
So did you believe you were pregnant?

MAGADI NGIAMA
Yes. Why I believe it - first of all because when I went to the doctor, the doctor told me I was not pregnant but it was a fibos ...

WAITE
Fibroids.

MAGADI NGIAMA
Fibroids. So the wife, Mary Deya, said to me don't believe the doctor at all, come here to see me. So I went to see Mary Deya when she was in London, she just saw me and said don't believe any doctor, you are pregnant, you will go to Kenya, you will have your baby and you will come back. So when you come back because the England doctor didn't see the baby, you will take them to court and the court, if you win the case, they will compensate you.

WAITE
So let me get this straight. So Mrs Deya was saying go and have your baby in Kenya, then bring it back and we can sue the doctors in court ...

MAGADI NGIAMA
Exactly.

WAITE
... because they got it wrong, you were pregnant.

MAGADI NGIAMA
Yes exactly. So later on she asked me, she said so when you go there, you come back, when you get million of money like that will you think about me?

WAITE
You meant she wanted some of the money?

MAGADI NGIAMA
Yes. I have to think about her because I think at that time, even now, oh yes [indistinct words] their purpose is get money.

WAITE
Was money always in the conversation?

MAGADI NGIAMA
Money, money. Sometimes this [indistinct words] we call her the pastor who is there - Pastor [name] - I meant to tell him call her to come to London. So with my husband we went once, we came to meet [indistinct words]. Every time we were like an example to people, they would bring us to the congregation to show us this one they have got the miracle marriage, now the doctors are deceiving them, the lady is pregnant, they will have a baby, she will go to Kenya, she will have the baby.

WAITE
So you were like exhibits really, you were being shown off.

MAGADI NGIAMA
That's it, yes. So we come with my husband in front of the congregation, they call all the midwives to come and check my womb, they check my womb, they say you are pregnant, you're having twins - Elisha and Elisha. So all the church was calling me the mother of twins. You are heavily pregnant, mademoiselle they said you know your baby is so lazy, he's asleep ...

WAITE
Sucking his thumb.

MAGADI NGIAMA
Sucking his thumb yes. So everything was just believable. But the year was coming because I carried that [indistinct word] two years.

WAITE
You were pregnant for two years!

MAGADI NGIAMA
Two years.

WAITE
And every time you said this cannot be, no one is pregnant for 18 months, they said yes you are?

MAGADI NGIAMA
They said you are, you will get a baby - miracle baby - you will go to Kenya.

WAITE
Why did you have to go to Kenya, why couldn't you have gone to an English doctor or a British hospital?

MAGADI NGIAMA
Because the British doctor didn't see any baby, so they are liar. So they can't get the baby here. I [indistinct words] my heart is just rejecting this purpose to go to Kenya. [Indistinct words] every baby come here. So there was a time one Saturday the Bishop came in Manchester for a visit, he started telling me, said okay next Thursday you are going to Kenya. He offered to pay everything. I said no my heart is rejecting to go there.

WAITE
You were fearful, you were frightened?

MAGADI NGIAMA
Yes I was frightened.

WAITE
You felt, did you, something was wrong?

MAGADI NGIAMA
Yes that's true.

JONAS
Apart from that the fearful that she say, we phone the couple in Kenya, the couple who had babies, miracle babies every three or four months ...

WAITE
The Oderas?

JONAS
Mrs Odera yes, we phoned them, to talk to them about their experience. We also - she also phone the lady Edith to tell her when it was born. I'll tell you the conversation between Mrs Odera and my wife, Edith and my wife was not good. There was something in the middle that was not - cannot be explained. Something went between that the fear started to grow to go to Kenya.

WAITE
So when you asked questions of those who had apparently had miracle babies - the Oderas and Edith - those questions were not satisfactorily answered?

JONAS
Never, never, there was something that they did - we felt that they are not telling the truth to us, when she went on. That's why the fear start to grow on her.

WAITE
That's when you got frightened?

JONAS
Frightened yes.

WAITE
Why do you think Archbishop Deya does this? Is it money, is it status because he's famous?

MAGADI NGIAMA
Is the purpose I think today is to be, first of all, popular and to women like me, other women, to gain more number in the congregation and to sell videos to get the money. So he uses me to gain the money.

WAITE
Because donations come into the church from people wanting their miracles?

MAGADI NGIAMA
Yes because when they see people - see miracle like that they give the money.

WAITE
You decided that you did not believe Archbishop Deya, that you were not pregnant. Did you stay within the church?

MAGADI NGIAMA
I left the church since August, I left the church.

WAITE
What do you think of Mr Deya now?

MAGADI NGIAMA
They said I was having miracle baby for two years, carrying a big tummy, it's wrong, he's lying.

WAITE
And what do you think of Mrs Deya?

MAGADI NGIAMA
They are all the same, they are all liars. It's money they are looking for, they came for money - they are looking for money. So my purpose is to tell people to open their eyes because they are being deceived like I was deceived, I was really deceived.

WAITE
Magadi Ngiama and her husband Jonas. And Mary Deya, the wife of the Archbishop Gilbert Deya you heard mentioned there, is currently on bail, along with two other women, after being charged in connection with the miracle babies investigation. Michael Kaloki who reports for the BBC in Kenya has been following the story for us and joins us now on the line from Nairobi. Michael, a court case has got underway, following our original investigation, just remind us - who's standing trial and for what?

KALOKI
Well John, Mary Deya, together with two other women, Miriam Nyeko a British citizen and Rose Kiserem, a Kenyan, are currently standing trial in a case in which they are accused in the words of the police report "stealing a child". Miriam Nyeko used to attend the Gilbert Deyo ministry in England and had apparently travelled to Kenya to give birth to a miracle baby. Miriam is also facing an additional count of obtaining a birth certificate by deception. Mary Deya and Rose both stand accused of playing a significant role in stealing the child. In a separate case a Mr and Mrs Odeya, a Nairobi couple, who featured in publicity material handed out by the church in London for having a large number of miracle babies, are also facing charges of child theft.

WAITE
And at what stage is the case now Michael?

KALOKI
Well the court case got underway last month and so far we've heard evidence from a government chemist a Miss Rose Sikuku, who's provided the results of DNA tests carried out on the so-called miracle babies. She told the court that those DNA tests showed that Miriam Nyeko could not be the biological mother of the child she is charged with trying to take away from Kenya. Since that hearing the case has been adjourned. However, I spoke to the lawyer this morning and he confirmed that the case gets underway again next week. Now the prosecution is expected to call in a number of other witnesses in that hearing, including members of the Nairobi CID who have been investigating the activities of the church both here in Kenya and the UK.

WAITE
Now I mentioned earlier that 20 children had been taken into care in Kenya by the authorities in Nairobi following our investigation, what has happened to them?

KALOKI
Well as you reported earlier this year John initially the children who had been taken from the Deya's home and that of the Odera's were taken into care at a children's home here in Nairobi. In the last six months many couples have come forward claiming that they are the real parents of the children. However, DNA tests have all proved negative. I spoke to a Mr Wanduki [phon.], one of the lawyers representing Mary Deya, he's informed me that a number of the children have been released back into the care of Mrs Deya.

WAITE
And as well as the court case the Kenyan police are continuing their investigations, any developments there?

KALOKI
Well a spokesperson at the CID headquarters here in Nairobi has informed me that they're still in the process of trying to get Archbishop Deya extradited back to the country for questioning. Although that was started more than four months ago they say there is no significant news in that process to report.

WAITE
Michael Kaloki in Nairobi many thanks. And we've tried to get a response from the Gilbert Deya ministries to the new allegations but no one was available and Mr Deya himself denies any charges of child trafficking.

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