Nigerian Senator Ike Ekweremadu, his wife and a medical middleman have been found guilty of trafficking a man to the United Kingdom to provide a kidney, a statement from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said on Thursday.
Ekweremadu, 60, his wife Beatrice, 56, and Nigerian doctor Obinna Obeta, 51, were convicted in a British court of conspiring to exploit the man from Lagos.
“This was a horrific plot to exploit a vulnerable victim by trafficking him to the UK for the purpose of transplanting his kidney,” said Chief Crown Prosecutor Joanne Jakymec.
“The convicted defendants showed utter disregard for the victim’s welfare, health and wellbeing and used their considerable influence to a high degree of control throughout, with the victim having limited understanding of what was really going on here.”
The couple’s daughter, Sonia, was found not guilty, the CPS said.
The trio will be sentenced at the same court on May 5.
The Metropolitan Police said in a statement that the guilty verdicts were the first time someone has been convicted in Britain of human trafficking for the purpose of organ harvesting.
“This conviction sends out a clear message across the world, the UK will not tolerate the international industry in illegal organ removal,” Detective Inspector Esther Richardson, from the Met’s Modern Slavery and Child Exploitation team, said in a statement.
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Ekweremadu, a former Nigerian deputy senate president, is from the southeastern state of Enugu. He twice lost his bid to be governor of the state on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, losing at the primaries.
The second attempt happened only a month before his arrest in the UK.