A Nigerian politician attempted to bring a street shopper to the UK to collect his kidney. He believed it was better to “buy one” than to find a family member who would donate it, according to court hearings.
Hugh Davies KC, the prosecutor, has accused Ike Ekweremadu (an opposition senator from Nigeria) of not approaching his family members because he wanted to transfer the “medical risks” to someone he did not know.
Ekweremadu (60), his wife Beatrice (56), child Sonia (25), and Dr Obinna Obeta (50) are all on trial at Old Bailey for allegedly plotting to bring a young man from Nigeria to Britain to donate his kidney.
Prosecutors claim that the 21-year old street trader from Lagos in Nigeria was offered PS7,000 and the promise to a better lifestyle if he traveled to London. He posed as Sonia’s cousin to get a visa for the UK.
According to prosecutors, the man’s kidney would have been removed at Royal Free Hospital Hampstead in north London before being transplanted into Sonia. Sonia has a “significantly deteriorating” condition.
Jurors were told that the alleged donor didn’t understand, until his first consultation with a hospital consultant, that he was there to receive a kidney transplant.
After he was rejected, it is claimed that the Ekweremadus sold their interest to Turkey and began looking for another donor.
Consultant said that the street trader had a “limited understanding” about what he was doing and was “visibly relieved” when he was told that the transplant wouldn’t go ahead.
“You don’t lack intelligence”
Ekweremadu was cross-examined today to explain why he didn’t seek out a match within his family instead of buying a kidney.
After being informed about a September 2021 conversation between his brother Diwe, and Dr Obeta, the politician stated that he didn’t believe it was possible.
Prosecutor Mr Davies stated: “On the question whether a family member could act as a donate in principle, you decided that it was not possible based upon a reported conversation between Dr Obeta and your brother, a nonnephrologist.”
The defendant stated that he would have basic knowledge. He said that he was not a doctor, and I believe him.
Mr Davies stated that you could ask any of the specialists you were referring if a family member would be willing to donate a kidney.
Ekweremadu said he was of limited intelligence.
The prosecution rejected the claim and stated that it was “incredible.” Intelligence is not lacking in you.
“The truth is that you didn’t even attempt to ask Sonia’s cousins to act as donors.
“What you’re saying is that you didn’t intend for anyone in your immediate family, extended or not, to give a kidney to Sonia.
“It’s better to buy one than to let the medical risk go on to someone you don’t know.”
“These are not the facts”
Ekweremadu claimed that it was not true that he accepted through agents to recruit a donor for his daughter to donate a kidney.
Mr Davies stated that the pattern of communication does not reflect the type of human communication you would expect if your family believed that [the donor] was a good Samaritan.
Ekweremadu said, “Not true.”
Mr Davies argued that: “The donor failed to consent to the transplant. You and your family immediately sought out other donors to receive a reward. This was done by transferring jurisdiction from the UK to Turkey.
“That also failed because the donor was not properly trained to give false answers during interviews.”
The defendant responded, “These are not facts.”
Mr Davies stated that he did not leave the Royal Free Clinical Team because they were lacking expertise.
“When you needed another donor, you immediately applied to transfer the clinical processes to Turkey.”
Mr Davies asked why the Ekweremadus was willing to leave London’s “internationally recognized centre of excellence” for an unknown quantity from Turkey.
Ekweremadu said that treatment in Turkey was “cheaper”.
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Mr Davies replied: “You wanted to cut corners on the clinical outcome of your daughter to save money?” Senator, you were a rich man.”
The defendant, who has dozens of properties in Nigeria, Dubai, and sent his children private education, denies being wealthy.
Mr Davies countered, “That’s false.” Consider how many properties you have.
He suggested that Beatrice Ekweremadu who holds a doctorate was informed about what was happening “from beginning to ending”.
The prosecution stated that Sonia’s treatment would not dominate the family discussion. Which was more important?
Ekweremadu responded: “I have other responsibilities for my family and other persons.”
Mr Davies stated that “what other issue was as important as your daughter’s potentially life-threatening, life-ending condition?”
The three Ekweremadus who are located in Willesden Green (northwest London) and Dr Obeta (from Southwark), deny conspiring or facilitating the travel of the young man to be exploited between August 2021 to May last year.
The trial continues.