Ike Ekweremadu, a former Deputy Senate President, and his wife, Beatrice, were found guilty of organ trafficking in the United Kingdom.
After a six-week trial at the Old Bailey, the duo and a medical doctor, Dr. Obinna Obeta, were found guilty of facilitating the travel of a young man to Britain with the intent of exploiting him.
The jury determined on Thursday that they criminally plotted to bring the 21-year-old Lagos street trader to London in order to exploit him for his kidney.
According to The Guardian UK, the judge, Justice Jeremy Johnson, will issue a punishment at a later date.
Ekweremadu, Beatrice, their daughter, Sonia, and Obeta were on trial for organ trafficking at the Old Bailey.
The verdict handed down on Thursday was the first of its type under the Modern Slavery Act.
Last year, Ekweremadu and his wife were arrested in the United Kingdom on suspicion of bringing a young man into the nation to harvest his kidney.
The young man was claimed to have falsely presented himself as Sonia’s cousin in an unsuccessful attempt to persuade doctors to perform an £80,000 private surgery at London’s Royal Free Hospital.
The young man was said to have been offered an illegal reward to become a donor for Sonia after kidney disease forced her to drop out of a master’s degree in film at Newcastle University.
The prosecutor, Hugh Davies KC, told the court the Ekweremadus 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 Guardian UK report added.
The behaviour of Ekweremadu showed “entitlement, dishonesty and hypocrisy”, Davies told the jury.
He said Ekweremadu “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.”
HowNG reported on March 14 that Beatrice denied any involvement in the quest for an organ donor for their ill daughter, Sonia.
According to HowNG, Ekweremadu claimed he enlisted the help of the young man after his doctor instructed him not to look for a kidney donor among his family members.