Home Courts Lagos High Court acquits banker, wife of money laundering, berates EFCC

Lagos High Court acquits banker, wife of money laundering, berates EFCC

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A Lagos State High Court sitting in Ikeja dismissed a 7-count charge brought by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against Rowly Isioro and Ovuomarhoni Naomi Isioro and acquitted them.

In October 2019, the EFCC arrested Mr Rowly Isioro, a former Assistant General Manager with one of the new generation banks, and his wife, Mrs Ovuomarhoni Isioro, a businesswoman, for their alleged involvement in “business email compromise” fraud and money laundering.

In a statement released in 2019, the anti-graft agency said the arrests followed a petition from the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation, FBI, through the Office of the Legal Attaché, United States Consulate, Lagos, about their alleged involvement in computer fraud.

The judge, Hon Justice Mojisola Dada on November 30, 2021, acquitted a couple of all the seven-count charges after evidence showed the cou­ple was being prosecuted with trumped-up charges.

In March 2018, the couple petitioned AIG Zone 5 after Mr Michael Uziewe, a resident of Atlanta, USA, failed to remit the dollar equivalent of the naira they had transferred to the accounts of the individuals nominated by Mr Uziewe since October 2017. Sequel to the investigation, AIG Zone 5 declared he and his as­sociates wanted and blocked their accounts.

Rather than come to a resolution, they “fought back” and filed a petition with the EFCC to retaliate, which resulted in the freezing of Mrs Isioro’s account and her arrest claiming that she was receiving proceeds of business email compromise/romance scam from Mr Uz­iewe concerning previous suc­cessful transactions between them.

Hon Justice M. Dada acquitted Mr and Mrs Isioro of all charges on November 30, 2021, based on the evidence before the Court.

The EFCC was chastised for wasting public funds, court time, and damaging the lives and careers of the defendants by bringing matters to the court that should not have been brought in the first place. The judge warned EFCC not to bring baseless matters to court in the future.

In an interview on Sunday, Decem­ber 5, 2021, Mr Louis Alozie, a SAN and the lawyer of the Isi­oros hailed the acquittal of his clients.

“I thank the Court for al­lowing justice to prevail. The judgment has vindicated my clients from persecution and op­pression. The couple were both in incarceration for about nine months including the period of lockdown due to the COVID 19 pandemic away from their young children,” Mr Alozie revealed.

“The husband who was a top banker was dismissed from his job because of the trumped-up charges. The big issue now is how would they be compensat­ed for the emotional, physical, reputational and economic loss they have suffered as a result of this ordeal?”

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