A Kenyan bishop based in the United Kingdom was on Monday arraigned in a UK court on charges of selling an oil touted as a cure for Covid-19.
Bishop Climate Wiseman, 46, head of the Kingdom Church in South London, is accused of “fraud and unfair trading offenses” in the Lavender Hill magistrates’ court.
The charges allege Wiseman claimed the concoction advertised as “Divine Cleansing Oil” or as part of a “Divine Plague Prevention Kit” could be used to “treat, prevent, protect against or cure” coronavirus.
Prosecutor Ryan Thompson said claims were made that the oil had “cured at least 10 people” in phone calls to the church during an investigation.
He said the charges involved selling a cure for coronavirus which would not work and that there was a “risk of death and harm” to people who bought the oil believing it would help save them.
Wiseman denied a single charge of fraud and two charges under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations between March 23 and 24.
According to the Evening Standard, the magistrate hearing the case failed to deliver a judgment, saying that the matter was one of freedom of religion.
The case was moved to another court, the Inner London Crown Court, with the next hearing slated for September 13.
Bishop Wiseman has been under investigation since April last year for selling “Covid-19 cure” oil to his congregants.
The “cure”, christened Plague Protection Divine Oil, retails for about €91 (Sh11,000).
The oil is reportedly made from a mixture of cedar wood and hyssop, a garden herb of the mint family.
When his story came to the limelight last year, the Bishop told a news agency in the UK that he had sold about 1,000 bottles at the time.
“It is by faith that you can be saved from the coronavirus pandemic by covering yourself with the divine plague protection oil and wearing the scarlet yarn on your body. That is why I want to encourage you, if you haven’t done so already, to get your divine plague protection kit today!” he wrote on his website which has since been deactivated following backlash.
In January of this year, the clergyman also advertised his “divine oil” on London buses.
“There Is a God in Heaven, His name is Yahweh! There Is a Prophet in London His Name Is Bishop Climate,” read the advert that ran until February 21.