Old Bailey trial told Nigerian politician sent man to UK to remove organ because he didn’t want relative to face transplant risk World News

A court has heard that a senior Nigerian politician tried to get a street trader to Britain to harvest his kidney because “buying one was better” than finding a family member to donate the organ.

Prosecutor Hugh Davies Casey has accused Ike Ekweremadu, an opposition senator in Nigeria who has an address in London, of not contacting family members because he wanted “medical risk” to visit someone he did not know. knew.

Ekweramadu, 60, his wife Beatrice, 56, Betty Sonia, 25, and medical “middleman” Dr Obinna Obeta, 50, are on trial at the Old Bailey over alleged conspiracy to bring a young man to the UK to donate his kidney.

Prosecutors claim the 21-year-old street trader from Lagos, Nigeria, was offered up to £7,000 and promised a better life if he traveled to London to obtain a visa posing as Sonia’s cousin . UK,

The man’s kidney would then have been removed at the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead in the north LondonProsecutors allege that before being transplanted into Sonia, who has a “significant and deteriorating” kidney condition.

Sonia Ekweremadu outside the Old Bailey in February

The alleged donor did not realize he was there for a kidney transplant until his first appointment with a consultant at the hospital, jurors have been told at a previous hearing.

When they were rejected as unsuitable, it is alleged that Ekvermades shifted his interest to Turkey and set out to find another donor.

The court heard the street trader was “relieved” when told by the consultant to have a “limited understanding” of what he was there for and that the transplant would not go ahead.

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‘You do not lack intelligence’

Ekvaremadu was asked under cross-examination today why he did not try to find a suitable match among his family members instead of trying to buy a kidney.

The politician said he believed this was not an option after he was told about a conversation between his brother Dive and Dr Obata in September 2021.

Prosecutor Mr Davies said: “On the question of whether a family member could in principle act as a donor, you decided that based on an alleged conversation between your non-nephrologist brother and the non-nephrologist Dr Obeta But it was not possible?”

The defendant said: “He would have had basic knowledge. I’m not a doctor so if he says so, I believe him.”

But Mr Davies said: “All you had to do, rather than relying on a second-hand account from a non-nephrologist, was to ask one of the specialists you were consulting whether a family member could donate a kidney.” could.”

Ekweramadu suggested that he had “limited intelligence”.

The prosecutor rejected the claim, saying: “It is unbelievable. You do not lack intelligence.

“The fact is that you didn’t even try to ask Sonia’s cousins, for example, to consider acting as donors.

“What you are saying is that no one in your family had any intention – immediate or extended – to step forward to donate a kidney to Sonia.

“Better to buy one and let the medical risk go to someone you don’t know.”

‘These are not facts’

Ekvaremadu said it was “not true” that he agreed through agents to recruit a donor to give his daughter a kidney for a reward.

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Mr Davies said: “The pattern of communication does not reflect any of the human communication and interaction that you would expect if you and your family had assumed [the proposed donor] Was a good Samaritan.”

Ekweremadu repeated: “Not true.”

But Mr Davies insisted: “With implants [the donor] With no further progress, you and your family immediately sought to recruit more donors for the reward, transferring jurisdiction from the UK to Turkey.

“That too failed because that donor too was not trained properly to give wrong answers at the time of interview.”

The defendant replied: “These are not facts.”

Mr Davies said: “You didn’t walk away from the Royal Free Clinical Team because they lacked expertise.

“When another donor was needed, you immediately demanded to transfer the clinical process to Turkey.”

Mr Davies asked why Akvermedes was prepared to leave an “internationally recognized center of excellence” in London for an undisclosed amount in Turkey.

Ekvermadu suggested that treatment was “cheaper” in Turkey.

Read more from the court:
Hospital secretary ‘helped with failed kidney removal bid’

Mr Davis replied: “You were looking to cut your daughter’s diagnostic results to save money? You were a wealthy man, senator.”

The defendant, who owns dozens of properties in Nigeria and Dubai and sends his children to be educated privately, denied being a wealthy person.

But Mr Davies said: “That’s not true. Think how many properties you have.”

He suggested that Beatrice Ekweramadu, who had a doctorate, maintained an informed interest in what was going on “from beginning to end”.

Beatrice Ekweremadu outside the Old Bailey
Beatrice Ekweremadu in February

The prosecutor said: “How would Sonia’s treatment not be a major discussion in the family? What was more important?”

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Ekweremadu replied: “I have other responsibilities to my family and other people.”

Mr Davies said: “What other issue was there at a similar level of importance to your daughter’s potentially life-limiting, life-ending condition?”

The three Aquamedes, whose address is in Willesden Green, north-west London, and Dr Obeta, of Southwark, deny conspiracy to arrange or facilitate the youth’s travel with a view to exploitation between August 2021 and May last year.

Testing continues.

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