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HomeTop NewsHow Ekweremadu was arrested at Heathrow with £20,000 in cash

How Ekweremadu was arrested at Heathrow with £20,000 in cash

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A former deputy president of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu and his wife Beatrice on Thursday appeared in a United Kingdom court after being accused of plotting to traffic a homeless child into the UK in order to harvest his organs.

The former deputy president of the Senate and his wife are accused of trying to traffic the 15-year-old to the UK from Lagos. 

The court heard the couple, who have four children and a house in Willesden, North London, hoped to transplant the boy’s organs to their daughter who suffers from kidney failure.   

Police were alerted to potential offences under modern slavery laws last month.

They arrested the couple two days ago at Heathrow Airport as they attempted to board a plane to Turkey – where it was suggested that the procedure could take place – the court heard.

Ekweremadu, 60, is said to have had £20,000 on him at the time of his arrest, according to prosecutors.

The child is now under the care of safeguarding authorities and the Metropolitan Police, officials say.

Ekweremadu and his accountant wife Beatrice, 55, are charged with conspiracy to arrange or facilitate travel of another person with a view to exploitation, namely organ harvesting.

The senator was wearing a grey sweater while his wife was wearing a black and white knitted cardigan at Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court Thursday.

Prosecutor Damla Ayas said: “It is conspiracy in relation to human trafficking offences for the purposes of organ harvesting. The victim, in this case, is 15 years old

“They the couple were interviewed at the police station. Both of the defendants have provided a prepared statement.

“Ekweremadu in his prepared statement denied allegations of human trafficking.

“He said at no stage has he arranged transport for anyone with intention to exploit them.”

His wife similarly denied the allegations in her prepared statement, the court heard.

Gavin Irwin, representing Ekweremadu, said: “There is no question this is a serious allegation. Ekweremadu is a member of the senate in Nigeria.

“He has previously held an even more senior role as deputy president of the senate.

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“He is a member of the bar in Nigeria. He is a principal in a law firm that bears his name.

“Those issues taken together go way beyond him being a person of good character…rather that he has led a blameless life as a public servant.”

Irwin added that the allegations were “nothing short of preposterous.”

Antonia Gray, for Mrs Ekweremadu, said: “She has never been complicit or involved in any alleged illegal trafficking of any young person.

“She is a financial accountant…with an unblemished record.”

The couple have an address they could stay at in Willesden, northwest London, the court heard.

The prosecutor made an application to adjourn matters for 14 days.

Ayas said: “In respect of these offences Attorney General consent is required and the Crown requires 14 days for that to be obtained.”

Magistrate Lois Sheard said: “These are serious allegations and these matters are now adjourned until July 7 back here at Uxbridge.”

Sheard remanded both defendants into custody ahead of their hearing next month.

The Ekweremadus are charged with “conspiring to arrange or facilitate the travel of another person with a view to exploitation….between August 1, 2021, and May 5, 2022 within the jurisdiction of Central Criminal Court.”

 

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