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Timothy Omotoso trial to start from scratch

Judge Mandela Makaula told the court it's in the interest of justice that he recuses himself.

Nigerian televangelist Timothy Omotoso. Picture: timomotoso.org

CAPE TOWN - The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) says the human trafficking trial of pastor Timothy Omotoso and two others will have to start from scratch after the judge recused himself.

Judge Mandela Makaula made the announcement in the high court sitting in Port Elizabeth yesterday.

The matter has now been postponed to the end of July when a new judge will preside.

Omotoso and two women face a string of charges including rape, human trafficking and racketeering.

Makaula told the court it's in the interest of justice that he recuses himself.

He did so after it emerged that some state witnesses had been accommodated at a guesthouse in which his wife has business interests.

Makaula said he would do so even though he does not personally have financial interests or a role in the affairs of his wife's business venture.

While an application based on this fact was not brought before court, the judge says he felt it was the right thing to do.

The NPA's Tshepo Ndwalaza says proceedings will now start afresh.

“It’s going to start from the beginning and Cheryl Zondi will have to testify in court again.”