During a court hearing, a Nigerian doctor admitted that he lied about a potential kidney donor because he was "desperate" for his own procedure to proceed.
Dr. Obinna Obeta, 51, is charged with participating in an international criminal conspiracy in a scheme to traffic organs.
The Old Bailey was informed that Dr. Obeta had traveled in 2021 with a donor from Nigeria whom he had misidentified as his cousin.
He disputes that he violated anti-slavery laws.
Ike Ekweremadu, a former politician from Nigeria, is charged with bringing a man to the UK to donate a kidney to his daughter Sonia.
In order to take advantage of the young man in May 2022, Mr. Ekweremadu, his wife Beatrice, 56, and daughter Sonia, 25, deny planning or facilitating the young man's travel to Britain.
Dr. Obeta is charged with participating in the scheme.
The court learned on Monday that Dr. Obeta received a kidney transplant in the UK in 2021 from a donor who traveled there from Nigeria and was reportedly his cousin.
However, when Sally Howes KC, his defense attorney, questioned Dr. Obeta, he refused to say that the man was his cousin.
He's not my blood relative, no. I'm sorry about that, Dr. Obeta said.
I was really struggling to survive at that point, he continued.
When asked if he acknowledged that calling him a cousin was a lie, Dr. Obeta responded, "I'm not proud of that. ".
Dr. Obeta testified in court that he had maintained contact with the donor after the operation but denied having offered the man any payment or other form of reward for his kidney.
At this point, he resembled my son more, Dr. Obeta said.
The court was informed that following his surgery, Dr. Obeta had gotten in touch with his donor to inquire about the possibility of finding any additional donors.
"I had other people in mind. It's not a simple task," Dr. Obeta said.
He testified before the court that he needed to understand the motivations of potential donors because some would not have the right kidneys.
Dr. Obeta allegedly sought to replicate the procedure he had successfully used with the Ekweremadu family, who required a kidney for their daughter Sonia, according to the prosecution.
The potential donor, who cannot be named for legal reasons, allegedly fled after Royal Free Hospital medical staff determined he wasn't a good candidate, according to information previously provided to the Old Bailey.
Then, it's claimed that Dr. Obeta sought out a different street vendor to be a potential organ donor for Sonia Ekweremadu.
A charge under the Modern Slavery Act is refuted by all three defendants.
The trial goes on.