A former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, and his wife, Beatrice, have been found guilty of organ trafficking in the United Kingdom.
Ekweremadu, his wife, Beatrice, and Dr. Obinna Obeta, were found guilty of facilitating the travel of a young man to Britain with a view to his exploitation after a six-week trial at the Old Bailey.
They criminally conspired to bring the 21-year-old Lagos street trader to London to exploit him for his kidney, the jury found on Thursday.
The judge, Justice Jeremy Johnson, will pass a sentence at a later date, The Guardian UK reports.
Ekweremadu, Beatrice, their daughter, Sonia, and Obeta had been standing trial at the Old Bailey for organ trafficking.
Their conviction on Thursday was the first verdict of its kind under the Modern Slavery Act.
Ekweremadu and his wife were last years arrested in the United Kingdom for allegedly trafficking a young man into the country to harvest his kidney.
However, the lawmaker’s daughter, Sonia, was cleared by the court.
The jury said Ekweremadu, his wife, and their doctor criminally conspired to bring the 21-year-old Lagos street trader to London to exploit him for his kidney.
The prosecutor Hugh Davies KC told the court that Ekweremadu 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 behavior of Ekweremadu showed “entitlement, dishonesty, and hypocrisy”, Davies told the jury.
He said Ekweremadu, who owns several properties and had a staff of 80, “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 defense 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, who denied the charge, told the court he was the victim of a scam. Obeta, who also denied the charge, claimed the man was not offered a reward for his kidney and was acting altruistically. Beatrice denied any knowledge of the alleged conspiracy. Sonia did not give evidence.
The judge, Mr. Justice Jeremy Johnson, will pass a sentence at a later date, according to the Guardian UK.