Ike Ekweremadus, a Nigerian senator has been found guilty of plotting to exploit a Lagos street trader by bringing him to the United Kingdom and harvesting his kidney for his sick daughter, Sonia.
The Old Bailey found Senator Ike Ekweremadu, 60, his wife Beatrice, 56, and medical “middleman” Dr Obinna Obeta, 50, guilty of conspiring to take advantage of a young man from Lagos for a body part.
Sonia Ekweremadu, 25, wept as she was cleared of the same charge on Thursday.
This is the first time defendants have been convicted of an organ harvesting conspiracy under the Modern Slavery Act.
The victim, a 21-year-old Lagos street trader, was brought to the UK last year to donate a kidney to Sonia in an £80,000 private transplant at London’s Royal Free Hospital.
Ekweremadu, a Nigerian politician, promised the victim, 21, up to £7,000 and a better life if he travelled to the UK to donate his kidney in a private transplant operation to his 25-year-old daughter, Sonia.
It is unlawful to pay someone to donate organs, meaning Ekweremadu, his daughter, his wife Beatrice, 56, and the medical “middleman”, Dr Obinna Obeta, 50, were charged with a criminal offence when their conspiracy was uncovered.
Following a trial at the Old Bailey, all four defendants were found guilty of conspiring to arrange or facilitate the travel of the young man with a view to exploitation between August 1 2021 and May 5 2022.
Jurors heard that Sonia was to have been the recipient of the victim’s kidney in an £80,000 private transplant operation at the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead, north London.
As part of the alleged plot, “elaborate” steps were taken to create the false impression that Sonia and her proposed donor were cousins.
Giving evidence at the Old Bailey, Ike tried to claim that he was the “victim” in the whole saga and said he was “scammed” by the medics involved.
Sonia has not had a kidney transplant and remains on dialysis.
The three Ekweremadus, from Willesden Green, north-west London, and Obeta, 50, from Southwark, had denied the charges.