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Politician, his wife and doctor jailed for organ harvesting plot

A Nigerian Senator, his wife and medical “middleman”, were all jailed after conspiring to bring a British market trader into the UK in order to harvest his kidney.

The 60-year-old politician Ike Ekweremadu and his 56-year-old wife Beatrice were accused of conspiring to bring a man from Lagos to Britain so that he could donate an organ to their 25-year old daughter Sonia Ekweremadu.

In March , the Old Bailey convicted Dr Obinna Obeta and his wife, as well as a medical “middleman”, Obinna Obeta.

Sonia Ekweremadu, who suffers from a serious kidney disease, wept as she was cleared in court of the same charge.


Ekweremadu received a nine-year and eight-month prison sentence, Beatrice, his wife, was given a four-year and six month prison term, and Obeta was given a ten year prison term.

Image: Beatrice Ekweremadu

Mr Justice Johnson said to the defendants, “In each case the offence committed by you is so serious that a fine or a sentence in the community cannot be justified.”

The 21-year old market trader was said to have been rewarded by the Royal Free Hospital in London for performing a private procedure worth PS80,000.

The prosecution alleged that the donor, who could not be identified due to legal reasons, was promised a better future in the UK along with a payment of up to PS7,000.

Old Bailey heard that the donor didn’t know until his first consultation with a hospital consultant that he would be there for a transplant.

The consultant said he only had a limited understanding of his purpose in the country and was “visibly relieved”, when he learned that the operation was not going to proceed.

The man was said to have falsely claimed to be Sonia Ekweremadu’s cousin to try and convince doctors to perform the procedure at Royal Free Hospital.

Image: Sonia Ekweremadu

The defendants ‘intended harm to the donor

The judge stated: “On the question of harm caused to the victim the judge said that the transplant was not carried out but that you both intended it to be carried out and that harm would result to the donor.

He would have had to live the rest of his days with just one kidney, and without funding for aftercare.

He said that the victim had not been adequately informed of the risks and had given no consent in “any meaningful sense”.

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The Ekweremadus and Dr Obeta from Southwark in south London, both of whom have addresses in Willesden Green (northwest London), had denied the charges against them.

Sonia Ekweremadu who undergoes dialysis every week declined to testify, but her representative said that she was unaware of any reward for donors.

This was the first time that defendants were convicted of a conspiracy to harvest organs under the Modern Slavery Act.

It is legal to donate a renal organ, but it is criminal if you receive money or any other material benefit.


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