Ekweremadu, a former Nigerian deputy senate president, was found guilty along with his wife and a doctor who helped broker the deal.
Nigerian Senator Ike Ekweremadu, his wife and a medical intermediary have been found guilty of smuggling a man into the United Kingdom to give him a kidney, a statement from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said Thursday.
Ekweremadu, 60, his wife Beatrice, 56, and Nigerian doctor Obinna Obeta, 51, were convicted by a British court of conspiracy to exploit the Lagos man.
“This was a heinous plot to exploit a vulnerable victim by smuggling him into the UK for the purpose of transplanting his kidney,” lead prosecutor Joanne Jakymec said.
“The convicted defendants showed utter disregard for the well-being, health and welfare of the victim and used their considerable influence throughout the period for a high level of scrutiny, with the victim having only a limited understanding of what was really going on here used to be.”
The couple’s daughter, Sonia, was found not guilty, the CPS said.
The trio will be sentenced in the same court on May 5.
The Metropolitan Police said in a statement that the guilty verdicts were the first time anyone in Britain had been convicted of human trafficking for the purpose of organ harvesting.
“This conviction sends a clear message around the world: the UK will not tolerate the international industry in illegal organ disposal,” Detective Esther Richardson of the Met’s Modern Slavery and Child Exploitation team said in a statement.
Ekweremadu, a former Nigerian Deputy Senate President, is from the southeastern state of Enugu. He twice lost his bid to become governor of the state on the People’s Democratic Party platform and lost in the primaries.
The second attempt happened just a month before his arrest in the UK.