A former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, his wife, Beatrice, have been found guilty of organ trafficking in the United Kingdom.
After a six-week trial at the Old Bailey, the two, along with a doctor named Dr. Obinna Obeta, were convicted guilty of enabling a young man’s visit to Britain with the intention of exploiting him.
The jury found on Thursday that they had criminally plotted to lure the 21-year-old street vendor from Lagos to London so they could take advantage of him for his kidney.
According to The Guardian UK, Judge Jeremy Johnson will sentence the defendant at a later time.
The Old Bailey had Ekweremadu, Beatrice, their daughter Sonia, and Obeta on trial for trafficking in organs.
The Modern Slavery Act was used for the first time to convict them on Thursday.
Ekweremadu and his wife were detained in the UK last year on suspicion of smuggling a young man into the nation for kidney harvesting.
The young man allegedly pretended to be Sonia’s cousin in an unsuccessful attempt to convince medical staff to perform a $80,000 private surgery at London’s Royal Free Hospital.
The young man was said to have been offered an illegal reward to become a donor for Sonia 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 Obeta had treated the man and other potential donors as “disposable assets – spare parts for reward”.
He said they entered an “emotionally cold commercial transaction” with the man, The Guardian UK report added.
The behaviour of Ekweremadu showed “entitlement, dishonesty and hypocrisy”, Davies told the jury.
He said Ekweremadu “agreed to reward someone for a kidney for his daughter – somebody in circumstances of poverty and from whom he distanced himself and made no inquiries, and with whom, for his own political protection, he wanted no direct contact”.
Davies added, “What he agreed to do was not simply expedient in the clinical interests of his daughter, Sonia, it was exploitation, 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 had claimed he involved the young man after he was advised by his doctor against seeking a kidney donor from among his family members.