Italian Fraud Suspect Commits Suicide In EFCC Custody
A 52 years old Italian man charged for a $111,000 fraud by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mr. Mauro Zanin, has reportedly committed suicide, two days before he was scheduled to appear in court.
The EFCC made this known today in a statement signed by its Ag Head, Media & Publicity, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren.
MR. Uwujaren in the statement said “He was found motionless in the bathroom of the Commission’s detention facility in Abuja at about 4.50 am on June 19, 2012. He had apparently committed suicide using his bedsheet. All effort by the duty officers and a team of EFCC medical personnel led by Dr. Gideon Osi of the Commission’s Medical Unit to revive him with cardiopulmonary resuscitation proved futile. He was subsequently certified dead at about 5.45 am.”
“Though all clues point to suicide, the incident has been reported to the Nigeria Police Station, Maitama for investigation.” He added
The spokesman said the Commission had filed a five count charge against Mr. Zanin and got a Wednesday, June 20, 2012 for hearing on the matter following a complaint by one Ahamefula Chibuzor Ewuzie that he fraudulently obtained the sum of $111,000 from Gladwaters Nigeria Limited, which lead to his arrest by Officers of the Nigerian Immigration Service and before transferring the case to the EFCC.
Mr. Zanin was said to have remained in EFCC custody after failing to get a surety to take him on bail provisionally granted on the 31st of May, 2012, but was visited by First Secretary and Deputy Head of Mission at the Italian Embassy Mr. Nicola Bazzani, on the 30th of May; and on a daily basis by his lawyer, Mr.Ugochukwu Onyejiuto.
The statement quoted the lawyer saying “It is important to say that I took this matter pro bono, with the hope that he will pay my fees when he is free. I was spending my money feeding him… to my amazement; he refused to let his family know what was going on. He has a 30 year-old son who is a lawyer in Italy but he was always telling them all was well”, Onyejiuto said.
Reacting to the incidence, the statement said the complainant; Dr. Mma Wokocha expressed shock at the news of the death of the suspect, wondering how she would recover the huge sum of money obtained from her by the deceased. She was however said to have absolved the Commission of any blame in the death of the suspect.
”Nobody should blame the EFCC. The Commission has done what it has to do, you cannot blame the EFCC…there was total human care for this guy,” she said.
The deceased, a confirmed fraudster, according to the EFCC allegedly obtained the money from Wokocha under the guise of selling used Dredger Italgraghe SGT 200 to them, to execute some dredging contract in the Niger Delta. The suspect sent them a Bill of Laden but their long wait for the ship, MSC Trinidad to berth was futile. Unknown to the complainant the Bill of Laden was forged as the ship indicated had ceased to exist long before they ever met the deceased three years ago.
The remains of the suspect have been deposited at the mortuary awaiting an autopsy.