A Lagos State High Court sitting in Ikeja has dismissed the 7-count charge and acquitted a couple Rowly Isioro and Ovuomarhoni Naomi Isioro of money laundering charges brought against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The EFCC in October 2019 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.
The anti-graft agency in a statement in 2019 said that their arrest followed a petition received by the Commission from the US Federal Bureau of Investigation, FBI, through the office of the Legal Attaché, United States Consulate, Lagos, about their alleged involvement in computer-based fraud, stealing and money laundering.
The judge, Hon Justice Mojisola Dada on November 30, 2021, acquitted the couple of all the seven-count charges after evidence showed the couple were being persecuted with trumped-up charges.
The couple had in March 2018 petitioned AIG Zone 5 after one Mr. Michael Uziewe who is based in Atlanta, USA had failed to remit the dollar equivalent of the naira that the couple had transferred to the accounts of the persons nominated by Mr Uziewe since October 2017. Sequel to the investigation, AIG Zone 5 declared him and his associates wanted and blocked their accounts.
Instead of coming forth to resolve the issue they “fought back” by petitioning EFCC to get back at them and got Mrs Isioro’s account frozen and ordered for her arrest alleging that she was receiving proceeds of business email compromise and romance scam from Mr Uziewe with respect to previous successful transactions between them.
The Court, based on the evidence before it, came to the irresistible conclusion that Mr and Mrs Isioro were framed. Hon Justice M. Dada acquitted the couple of all charges on November 30, 2021.
The judge berated EFCC for wasting public funds, precious time of the court and messing up their lives and careers on an issue that should not be brought to the court in the first place. She warned EFCC to desist from bringing baseless matters to court.
In an interview with The Trent on Saturday, December 4, 2021, Mr Louis Alozie, a senior advocate of Nigeria, the lawyer of the Idioros hailed the acquittal of his clients.
“I thank the Court for allowing justice to prevail. The judgement 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?”