- Category: POLITICS
- Published on Tuesday, 19 June 2012 16:05
- Written by Elombah.com
An Italian, Mauro Zanin, has died in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). The 52 year-old, who was scheduled to appear in court on Wednesday over allegations of fraud, was found motionless in the bathroom of the
commission’s detention facility in Abuja at about 4.50am on Tuesday.
A statement by the EFCC's Acting Head of Media and Publicity, Wilson Uwujaren, said the deceased 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 5.45am.
"Though all clues point to suicide, the incident has been reported to the Nigeria Police Station, Maitama for investigation.
"The deceased was arrested by officers of the Nigerian Immigration Service following a complaint by one Ahamefula Chibuzor Ewuzie that he fraudulently obtained the sum of $111,000 from Gladwaters Nigeria Limited, and transferred to the commission on May 30, 2012 for further investigation.
The EFCC said it had filed a five- count charge against him in court and got Wednesday as hearing date. He was served the court papers to prepare his defence on Tuesday.
"His arrest was officially communicated to the Italian Embassy on May 31, 2012. The same day, the suspect was granted provisional bail, but he could not get a surety to take him on bail.
"While in detention, Mr. Zanin was visited on May 30, 2012, by Mr. Nicola Bazzani, First Secretary and Deputy Head of Mission at the Italian Embassy; and everyday by his lawyer, Mr.Ugochukwu Onyejiuto.
The anti-graft agency quoted his lawyer as 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.”
According to the statement, Dr. Mma Wokocha, who is the complainant, has "expressed shock at the news of the suspect’s death, wondering how she would recover the huge sum of money obtained from her by the deceased.
"The deceased, a confirmed fraudster, allegedly obtained the money from Wokocha under the guise of selling used Dredger Italgraghe SGT 200 to her, 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 she met the deceased three years ago.