The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has confirmed the death of 52 years old Italian, Mr. Mauro Zanin, a suspected fraudster two days before he was scheduled to appear in court.
EFCC, in a release made available to Vanguard, said Zanin 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”, the statement said.
The deceased, according to the commission 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 EFCC on 30th May, 2012 for further investigation.
“The Commission had filed a five count charge against the deceased in court and got a Wednesday, June 20, 2012 as hearing date. He was served the court papers to prepare his defence yesterday, June 18.
“His arrest was officially communicated to the Italian Embassy on 31st May, 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.
“ 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.
Zanin took his own life a day to his scheduled arraignment. He was supposed to be arraigned before the Federal High Court (5) in Abuja on Wednesday, June 20, 2012.
Dr. Mma Wokocha, the complainant 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.
However, she 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.