Ike Ekweremadu accused of plotting to exploit a man for his kidney thought he was being “scammed” by doctors, a court heard.
Ike Ekweremadu, 60, is accused of conspiring to facilitate the travel of a man 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 heard.
He was promised opportunities in the UK for helping Mr. 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, Mr. 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 8 February 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”.
Defence barrister Martin Hicks KC asked: “Why not at this stage say we are being scammed Dr. Obeta, end of, stop?”
Mr. Ekweremadu replied: “My daughter’s life was on the line so if we stop we will be putting my daughter’s 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, which falsely stated that the proposed donor was Sonia’s cousin.
Mr. 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.”
Mr. 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.