Evangelical preacher. Gilbert Deya (63) has been caught by a newspaper, flogging off Aldi olive oil as a miracle cure – which is claimed to be able to treat everything from cancer to HIV. The self-styled ‘Archbishop of Peckham’ sells the oil in his church shop.
Gilbert Deya and his team were said to have been caught by a newspaper selling the £1.99 750ml product from Aldi in their church shop in South London for £4.99 as a cure if used on food.
One of his associates Pastor Kamara allegedly gave an undercover couple a badly-spelled leaflet including details of ‘mystical powers’ contained including overcoming illness and debt.
The Sun sent an undercover couple to his church, pretending that the wife had cancer and was seeking treatment. They said they received a leaflet claiming the ‘mystical powers’ of the oil, and that a member of the team told them that her cancer could be cured by putting the oil on her food.
The newspaper reported that the couple were taken to a room, where the oil was rubbed onto the woman’s chest, she was pushed to the ground, and the ‘witchcraft’ was told to leave.
The couple also told the team they couldn’t have children, and were encouraged to hand over £700 as a sacrifice to help them conceive.
According to the Daily Mail, Deya is currently fighting against extradition to Kenya on charges of stealing children from a hospital in Nairobi. He had claimed the children were born to his followers after prayers helped them conceive, but they were found to have no DNA connection to their ‘parents’.
He says he faces torture and inhuman treatment if he is made to return, and that he is the victim of a political vendetta. The Home Office told the newspaper it was continuing to consider representations by his legal team. Meanwhile the Charities Commission said it was investigating the ministry.
David Lamy, MP for Tottenham, has been pushing for Deya’s extradition for more than ten years, and even last week asked the Home Office in Parliament what it was doing about it. He first became involved when a couple from his constituency were told by the church that they could conceive. They travelled to Africa and returned with a baby boy that they had been convinced was theirs. However, DNA tests showed he was not, and he was taken into care.
The NHS warns that scams offering ‘miracle cures’ are surprisingly widespread, and take in hundreds of thousands of Brits who are convinced that pills and potions will cure their baldness, impotence or weight problems. It warns that at the very least these scams are a waste of your money, and that they can also be dangerous.
Even if they are harmless in themselves – like olive oil – there’s a risk that people will rely on their ‘miracle’ instead of seeking real treatment, or sticking with medicines prescribed by a doctor. In some cases they can actually contain harmful substances and have been produced by people with no appropriate qualifications in unhygienic surroundings.
The NHS says that these ‘cures’ may come with glowing testimonials, but they are made up. They may also offer you your money back if they don’t work, but if you should ever try to get your cash back, they warn that the scammers will just disappear.
Daily mail, The Sun, IB Times