Former deputy senate president, Ike Ekweremadu, and his wife, Beatrice, have been found guilty of organ trafficking by a United Kingdom court.
According to The Guardian UK, the duo, alongside a medical doctor, Dr. Obinna Obeta, were found guilty by a jury Thursday, after a six-week trial at the Old Bailey, of facilitating the travel of a 21-year-old man to Britain with a view to his exploitation.
The Ekweremadus were arrested by the London Metropolitan Police in June 2022, having allegedly attempted to convince doctors at the Royal Free Hospital in London to perform an £80,000 transplant on the donor who was presented as Sonia’s cousin.
Their daughter, Sonia, was however cleared of the charges.
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 that the Ekweremadus and Obeta had treated the man and other potential donors as “disposable assets – spare parts for reward”, adding that they entered an “emotionally cold commercial transaction” with the man.
Davies also told the jury that the behaviour of Ekweremadu showed “entitlement, dishonesty and hypocrisy”, that 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”.
“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”, Davies said.
According to the UK Guardian, it is the first verdict of its kind under the Modern Slavery Act.
The report also has it that the judge, Justice Jeremy Johnson, will pass a sentence at a later date.