Ike Ekweremadu, a Nigerian senator, his wife Beatrice, his daughter Sonia and their doctor Obinna Obeta were found guilty of organ trafficking in the United Kingdom.
They were found culpable of violating the Modern Slavery Act. The court found them guilty of facilitating the travel of a young man to Britain with a view to his exploitation after six-week trial at the old Bailey.
The jury found them guilty for criminally conspiring and bringing the 21-year old Lagos street trader to London to exploit him of his kidney.
The court said the 21-year-old was in February 2022, presented to a private renal unit at Royal Free Hospital in London as a cousin to Sonia in a failed attempt to convince medics to carry out an £80,000 transplant.
The 21-year-old was offered illegal reward to become a donor for the senator’s daughter after kidney disease forced her to drop out of a master’s degree in film at Newcastle University.
The prosecutor Hugh Davies KC, told the court the Ekweremadus and doctor Obeta had treated the man and other potential donors as “disposable spare parts for reward”.
Davies said that Ekweremadu’s behavior showed “entitlement, dishonesty and hypocrisy”
“agreed to reward someone for a kidney for his daughter, from whom he distanced himself and made no inquiries, and for his own political protection, he wanted no direct contact”.
Davies added, “what he agreed to do was not simply expedient in the clinical interest of his daughter, it was exploitation because of circumstances of poverty, it was criminal. It is no defence to say he acted out of love for his daughter, her clinical needs cannot come at the expense of the exploitation of somebody in poverty”.
Ekweremadu and doctor Obeta admitted falsely claiming the man was Sonia’s cousin in his visa application and in the documents presented to the hospital.
The judge, Justice Jeremy Johnson, will pass the sentence at a later date.
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