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Ike Ekweremadu

Nigerian senator guilty of trafficking man to UK to provide a kidney

Nigerian senator guilty of trafficking man to UK to provide a kidney
A medical team conducts a live donor kidney transplant at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham on June 9, 2006, in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

LONDON, March 23 (Reuters) - Nigerian senator Ike Ekweremadu, his wife and a medical middleman have been found guilty of trafficking a man to Britain 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 an horrific plot to exploit a vulnerable victim by trafficking him to the UK for the purpose of transplanting his kidney,” said Joanne Jakymec, Chief Crown Prosecutor.

“The convicted defendants showed utter disregard for the victim’s welfare, health and well-being 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.

Ike and Beatrice Ekweremadu and Obeta all denied but were found guilty of one count of conspiracy to arrange the travel of another person with a view to exploitation following a trial at London’s Old Bailey.

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.

(Reporting by William James and Sam Tobin, Editing by Paul Sandle)

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