Print Article



A hospital secretary received £1,500 to manipulate answers from a young man being paid to donate his kidney to the daughter of a powerful politician, the Old Bailey was told.

Evelyn Agbasonu was a long-serving employee at a private clinic of the Royal Free Hospital in north London which treats many foreign patients.

  • She offered to interpret for a potential donor, 21 after a surgeon said he was not sure the impoverished young Nigerian was acting altruistically as required by law.
  • The secretary had also acted as an interpreter for another young Nigerian donor who, the previous year provided a kidney for a Dr. Obeta.

ALL the accused deny conspiracy to exploit the intended donor.

  1. Sonia Ekweremadu, 25, the intended recipient;
  2. Her father Ike, 60, a senator in the Nigerian parliament; and
  3. Her mother, Beatrice Nwanneka, 56,
  4. Dr Obina Obeta, 50, from Southwark, south London, also denies the charge.

The case is the first prosecution for alleged commercial organ donation under the Modern Slavery Act.

It is unlawful to pay an organ donor.

  • Sonia’s potential donor was allegedly going to be paid as little as £2,400 plus a visa to travel to the UK and the opportunity to work.

Peter Dupont, the surgeon, asked Agbasonu to act as an independent interpreter in the Igbo language during the interview with the donor in February last year.

Hugh Davies KC, for the prosecution, said messages show

  • “Somewhat extraordinarily” the secretary “appears to have agreed to accept, in obvious breach of their professional role, £1,500 after this meeting in order to manipulate a second meeting to the advantage of the family”.

Dupont decided the donor

  • Was unsuitable as he was too young,
  • Did not understand the long-term risks to his own health and
  • His purported relationship as Sonia’s cousin was “far too tenuous for this to be likely to be a truly altruistic act”.

The donor, who earned a few pounds a day working on a street market in Lagos, then received “coaching” about the background of Sonia’s influential family and the “lies” he was to tell about his own family.

The allegedly corrupt secretary advised that the potential donor visit the hospital while Sonia was having dialysis.

Sonia’s uncle sent a message reading:

  • “Psychologically everyone in the team will have to accept that he’s really committed to his cousin’s health and it usually makes it easier to accept the person for the procedure.”

Agbasonu acted as the potential donor’s interpreter with another surgeon, Phillip Masson. She is said to have delayed the interview so false documents could be obtained.

Following the interview the interpreter allegedly complained the potential donor “showed too much timidity” but “she covered up for him and added the words as much as possible”.

Despite her efforts Masson agreed with Dupont that the donor was unsuitable.

Second donor

  • The secretary had also acted as an interpreter for another young Nigerian donor who the previous year provided a kidney for Obeta.
  • Obeta also allegedly falsely claimed the donor was a cousin.
  • After the original potential donor was rejected, the family tried to find others.
  • When pictures of two men were sent to Sonia she responded: “The dark [skin] one looks better, the light one looks like he might run away.”

Davies said:

  • “These were not altruistic donors: they were being drawn from the pool of economically vulnerable young men in Nigeria in need of reward. That is human exploitation.”

The Ekweremadu family was allegedly assisted by Christopher Agbo,

  • An NHS consultant nephrologist based at the Hinchingbrooke hospital in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire. Agbo, 50, runs a company called Vintage Health Group which arranges “health tourism” treatment at private British hospitals for foreign patients.

Sonia, who graduated with a degree in media from Coventry University, has a rare genetic kidney condition called focal segmental glomerulosclerosis. She lives with her parents in Willesden, north London.

The trial continues.


The Team

Meet the team of industry experts behind Comsure

Find out more

Latest News

Keep up to date with the very latest news from Comsure

Find out more


View our latest imagery from our news and work

Find out more


Think we can help you and your business? Chat to us today

Get In Touch

News Disclaimer

As well as owning and publishing Comsure's copyrighted works, Comsure wishes to use the copyright-protected works of others. To do so, Comsure is applying for exemptions in the UK copyright law. There are certain very specific situations where Comsure is permitted to do so without seeking permission from the owner. These exemptions are in the copyright sections of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (as amended)[]. Many situations allow for Comsure to apply for exemptions. These include 1] Non-commercial research and private study, 2] Criticism, review and reporting of current events, 3] the copying of works in any medium as long as the use is to illustrate a point. 4] no posting is for commercial purposes [payment]. (for a full list of exemptions, please read here]. Concerning the exceptions, Comsure will acknowledge the work of the source author by providing a link to the source material. Comsure claims no ownership of non-Comsure content. The non-Comsure articles posted on the Comsure website are deemed important, relevant, and newsworthy to a Comsure audience (e.g. regulated financial services and professional firms [DNFSBs]). Comsure does not wish to take any credit for the publication, and the publication can be read in full in its original form if you click the articles link that always accompanies the news item. Also, Comsure does not seek any payment for highlighting these important articles. If you want any article removed, Comsure will automatically do so on a reasonable request if you email