Pastor Ezekiel Odero admits to 15 deaths since starting his church

Lawyer Danstan Omari explains how 15 people died in pastor Ezekiel Odero's church

Televangelist Ezekiel Odero has admitted that 15 people have died while seeking spiritual interventions in his New Life Prayer Centre and Church, in the one year and a month it has been operational .

Through his advocates Cliff Ombeta , Danstan Omari and Shadrack Wamboi, Mr Odero said the 15 sought his help while in critical conditions.

"In the one year and a month that the institution has been in existence, around 15 people have died within Pastor Ezekiel's premises," said Mr Omari.

The advocate said the church has a policy where very sick people visiting for prayers must be accompanied by their relatives failure of which none is admitted for prayer.

"Once these people die, the persons accompanying them report the deaths to the nearest police station. The number of OBs recorded with the police will attest to this. No death has occurred with the police not involved,” he said.

The lawyers spoke to the press outside Port police station in Mombasa County after joining Mr Odero's defence team. The pastor is being held there, following his arraignment on Friday.

Mr Odero is being investigated for murder, aiding suicide, abduction, radicalisation, genocide, crimes against humanity, child cruelty, fraud, money laundering and being an accessory to crimes, the court heard.

Shanzu Chief Magistrate Joe Omido on Friday ordered that he be detained at Port police station until May 2 when the court will deliver a ruling on the police application to detain him for 30 days.

The two lawyers further said their client is not linked in any way to the deaths in Shakahola, Kilifi County, which have been linked to cult leader Paul Mackenzie. 

They added that none of the 15 people who died while seeking spiritual intervention from their client was buried in Shakahola or near the church

Pastor Odero has admitted that there is a graveyard outside his church compound but said it belongs to the Mijikienda people.

He said they rejected his attempt to buy the graveyard, which is adjacent to his church, because the graves are considered kayas.

However, the state has linked Mr Odero to Mr Mackenize, describing the two as individuals who share a history of business investment, particularly the TV station previously used to pass radicalised messages to their followers.

Some of these followers, the court heard, are believed to be among the hundreds of bodies so far exhumed at the Shakahola land linked to Mackenzie.