Ekweremadu’s Organ Trafficking Case Suffers Setback As Court Adjourns
The Central Criminal Court popularly known as Old Bailey, United Kingdom, has reportedly said that the plea and trial hearing of former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, and his wife, Beatrice over organ trafficking scheduled for Monday, will not hold.
Recall that Ekweremadu and his wife, on July 23, 2022, were being charged with Dr Obinna Obeta, on allegation of wanting to make payment for the procurement of an organ for their daughter, Sonia, from one David Nwamini.
The allegation led to the detention of Ekweremadu in a UK prison after the June 23 arrest.
In a report by Guardian.ng, the court said it will not be sitting due to the non-availability of Sonia, whose case was established.
The report added, “the court official didn’t categorically say whether the Ekweremadus’ sickly graduate daughter, Sonia, is now a defendant in the case, for which her parents were arrested. The Old Bailey official said they won’t have to wait for long, as the “case will be re-listed for sometime during the week.”
Speaking further, the court official maintained that although Monday, October 31, 2022, was fixed when the couple and their co-defendant appeared before the judge on August 4, Sonia wasn’t listed in the hearing then, adding, “the judge won’t be hearing the case because ‘there’s no counsel for Sonia.’”
Reps Invite Ministers, Firms Over $2.4bn Oil Sale
The House of Representatives’ will on April 11, 2023, grill ministers and other heads of ministries, departments and agencies of the Federal Government as well as oil companies and banks over the alleged illegal sale of 48 million barrels of crude oil valued at $2.4bn.
The House’ Ad Hoc Committee to Investigate Alleged Loss of Over $2.4bn in Revenue from Illegal Sale of 48 Million Barrels of Crude Oil Export in 2015 Including All Crude Oil Exports and Sales by Nigeria from 2014 Till Date is handling the probe.
The committee, in a notice to the invitees on Monday, also demanded memoranda from whistle-blowers who’s alarm had led to recovery of public funds from corrupt individuals and organisations.
The committee invited 100 individuals, organisations and groups, including the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited; Group Chief Executive Officer, NNPCL; Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning; Attorney General of the Federation; Director of Public Prosecutions of the Federation; Central Bank of Nigeria; Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission; Chief Executive, NUPRC; former Chairman, Presidential Committee on Recovery of Missing Crude Oil; former Director-General, DSS, Lawal Musa Daura; Department of State Services; Nigeria Police Force; INTERPOL National Central Bureau, Nigeria, among others.
The oil and telecommunication firms as well as banks for appearance include Dangote Industries Limited/Dangote Refinery; MTN Nigeria Limited; 9Mobile Nigeria Limited; Airtel Nigeria Limited; United Bank for Africa; Guaranty Trust Bank; Access Bank; Ecobank; Fidelity Bank; and Zenith Bank; Famfa Oil Limited; Seplat Petroleum; Addax Petroleum; Total Energies; Chevron; Shell (SNEPCO & SPDC); Sahara Energy Resources; Conoil; AITEO; Agip/NAOC; Heirs Petroleum; ExxonMobil/ESSO Petroleum; Oando; Oriental; SAPETRO and all other JV, PSC and marginal field operators.
Other top government officials have also been invited.
The notice partly read, “In the unlikely event that formal correspondence from the committee does not reach any of those listed above, please consider this publication as a formal invitation to the public hearing.
“Individuals, agencies, civil society and non-governmental organisations, companies and all other entities who are privy to or have provided whistle-blower information to the Nigerian Government about corruption and proceeds of corruption (whether or not such information has led to recovery by the government) are also, hereby, requested to submit memoranda with the following information to the committee’s secretariat:
The committee had held an investigative hearing at least twice during which invitees, including the Nigeria Police Force and INTERPOL we’re grilled.
The Chairman of the committee, Mark Gbillah, who was contacted on the telephone on Monday, said the panel had not been officially inaugurated as Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, was not available to declare the hearing open.
Gbillah said the Speaker would now inaugurate the committee on April 11.
When asked of the possibility of the committee concluding the investigation before the 9th National Assembly winds down in June, the chairman disclosed that the probe might be continued in the 10th Assembly.
He said, “Yes, we believe we have enough time to look at the critical issues. But anything outstanding – that is why government) is a continuum – we can always make a recommendation in the report that the next House should take over from here and there. But it is too-important an issue for us to not try to conclude on.”
The House had on December 20, 2022, resolved to constitute an ad hoc committee to investigate a whistle-blower’s allegation of illegal sale of 48 million barrels of Nigeria’s Bonny Light crude in China in 2015 and the insurance status of the cargo.
The committee was also to investigate all crude oil exports and sales by Nigeria from 2014 to date, with regards to quantity, insurance, revenue generated, remittances into the Federation Account or other accounts as well as utilisation of the revenue for the period under review.
In addition, the panel would investigate all proceeds recovered through the Whistle-Blowers Policy of the regime led by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), and the level of compliance with the policy.
The committee was to report back within four weeks for further legislative action.
Ex-CGS Oladipo Diya Dies At 79
Lt. General Oladipo Diya, former Chief of General Staff under the late Head of State, General Sani Abacha, is dead.
His death was announced in a statement by his son, Prince Oyesinmilola Diya, on Sunday morning.
It read, “On behalf of the entire Diya family home and abroad; we announce the passing on to glory of our dear husband, father, grandfather, brother, Lt-General Donaldson Oladipo Oyeyinka Diya (rtd) GCON, LLB, BL, PSC, FSS, mni.
“Our dear Daddy passed onto glory in the early hours of 26th March 2023. Please keep us in your prayers as we mourn his demise in this period. Further announcements will be made public in due course.”
The former Chief of General Staff was born on April 3, 1944 at Odogbolu in Ogun State.
Diya joined the Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna and fought during the Nigerian Civil War.
He was appointed Chief of General Staff in 1993 and Vice Chairman of the Provisional Ruling Council in 1994. As Chief of the General Staff, he was second in command and the de facto vice president of Nigeria under Abacha from 1994.
Breaking: Ekweremadu, Wife Found Guilty Of Organ Trafficking In The U.K.
A former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, his wife, Beatrice, have been found guilty of organ trafficking in the United Kingdom.
The duo alongside a medical doctor, Dr. Obinna Obeta, were found guilty of facilitating the travel of a young man to Britain with a view to his exploitation after a six-week trial at the Old Bailey.
They criminally conspired to bring the 21-year-old Lagos street trader to London to exploit him for his kidney, the jury found on Thursday.
The judge, Justice Jeremy Johnson, will pass a sentence at a later date, The Guardian UK reports.
Ekweremadu, Beatrice, their daughter, Sonia, and Obeta had been standing trial at the Old Bailey for organ trafficking.
Their conviction on Thursday was the first verdict of its kind under the Modern Slavery Act.
Ekweremadu and his wife were last year arrested in the United Kingdom for allegedly trafficking a young man into the country to harvest his kidney.
The young man was said to have been falsely presented as Sonia’s cousin in a failed bid to persuade doctors to carry out an £80,000 private procedure at the Royal Free Hospital in London.
The young man was said to have been offered an illegal reward to become a donor for Sonia after kidney disease forced her to drop out of a master’s degree in film at Newcastle University.
The prosecutor, Hugh Davies KC, told the court the Ekweremadus and Obeta had treated the man and other potential donors as “disposable assets – spare parts for reward”.
He said they entered an “emotionally cold commercial transaction” with the man, The Guardian UK report added.
The behaviour of Ekweremadu showed “entitlement, dishonesty and hypocrisy”, Davies told the jury.
He said Ekweremadu “agreed to reward someone for a kidney for his daughter – somebody in circumstances of poverty and from whom he distanced himself and made no inquiries, and with whom, for his own political protection, he wanted no direct contact”.
Davies added, “What he agreed to do was not simply expedient in the clinical interests of his daughter, Sonia, it was exploitation, it was criminal. It is no defence to say he acted out of love for his daughter. Her clinical needs cannot come at the expense of the exploitation of somebody in poverty.”
On March 14, it was reported that Beatrice denied involvement in the search for an organ donor for their ailing daughter, Sonia.
It was also reported that Ekweremadu claimed he involved the young man after he was advised by his doctor against seeking a kidney donor from among his family members.