Aformer Nigerian Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu and his wife, Beatrice and a medical “middleman” have been jailed for conspiring to traffic a market trader to the UK to harvest his kidney.
Ekweremadu, 60, his wife Beatrice, 56, and 25-year-old daughter Sonia stood trial accused of a conspiracy to bring the man to Britain from Lagos for his organ.
,The couple, along with medical “middleman” Dr Obinna Obeta, 50, were found guilty in the Old Bailey in March, Sky News reports.
At a sentencing hearing on Friday, Ekweremadu was jailed for nine years and eight months, his wife Beatrice was sentenced to four years and six months imprisonment while Obeta received a 10-year prison term.
The Ekweremadus’ daughter Sonia, who has a serious kidney condition, wept as she was cleared of the same charge.
Mr Justice Johnson told the defendants: “In each of your cases the offence you committed is so serious that neither a fine nor a community sentence can be justified.”
It was alleged that the 21-year-old street trader was to be rewarded for donating the organ to Sonia Ekweremadu, in an £80,000 private procedure at London’s Royal Free Hospital.
The case marked the first-time defendants have been convicted under the Modern Slavery Act of an organ harvesting conspiracy.
While it is lawful to donate a kidney, it becomes criminal if money or another material advantage is rewarded.
The prosecution claimed the donor was offered up to £7,000 along with the promise of a better life in the UK.
The donor did not understand until his first appointment with a consultant at the hospital that he was there for a kidney transplant, the Old Bailey was told.