Embattled former deputy Senate president, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, accused of plotting to exploit a man for his kidney, told a London court that he thought he was being ‘scammed’ by doctors.
Ekweremadu, 60, is accused of conspiring to facilitate a man’s travel to Britain to use him as an organ donor for his sick daughter.
A 21-year-old street trader from Lagos was to be paid up to £7,000 in exchange for a kidney, the Old Bailey court heard.
He was promised opportunities in the UK to help Ekweremadu’s daughter.
Mr Ekweremadu, his wife Beatrice, 56, daughter Sonia, 25, and medical ‘middleman’, Dr Obinna Obeta, all deny the same charge.
The street trader was falsely presented as Sonia’s cousin in a failed bid to persuade medics at the Royal Free Hospital in London to carry out the £80,000 private procedure, the court was told.
Giving evidence on Tuesday, Ekweremadu, who has an address in Willesden Green, north-west London, was asked about an invoice for £8,000 he received via his brother, Diwe, on February 8, 2022.
In his message, Diwe wrote he had received a ‘huge invoice’ from a consultant doctor.
He wrote: “It looks like they’re all out to exploit people’s unfortunate situation,” the court heard.
The defendant told jurors his view was that he was being ‘scammed’.
Defense barrister Martin Hicks KC asked: “Why not at this stage say we are being scammed, Dr. Obeta, end of, stop?”
Ekweremadu replied: “My daughter’s life was on the line, so if we stop we will be putting her life in danger. So, we just keep moving.
“Everybody was obviously taking advantage of my daughter’s ill health.”
The defendant was also asked about an unsigned affidavit dated 19 January 2022 which was recovered from Dr Obeta’s home in Southwark, south London, falsely stating that the proposed donor was Sonia’s cousin.
Ekweremadu told jurors: “I felt embarrassed because that’s not true and I told my daughter to ignore the document.”
He added: “I told her not to sign it… If you sign an affidavit you have to tell the truth.”
Asked who created the document, the defendant said: “I have no idea.”
Ekweremadu added his family had written to a court in Abuja, the capital of Nigeria, to find the origin of the affidavit.
Mr. Hicks told the court: “It’s a forgery.”
Mr. Ekweremadu agreed.
The trial continues.