A former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu and his wife, Beatrice along with their doctor have been convicted of organ trafficking in a United Kingdom Court.
The Judgement would be the first verdict of its kind under the Modern Slavery Act.
Ekweremadu who is age 60; his wife, Beatrice, 56, and Dr Obinna Obeta, 51, 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.
The court, However, cleared the lawmaker’s daughter, Sonia, of all allegations.
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 of his kidney without consent.
The prosecutor Hugh Davies KC told the court that Ekweremadus and Obeta had treated the man and other potential donors as “disposable assets – spare parts for reward”.
He stressed that they entered an “emotionally cold commercial transaction” with the man.
The behaviour of Ekweremadu showed “entitlement, dishonesty and hypocrisy,” Davies had 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 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, 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 however, pass sentence at a later date