Italian man accused of $110k fraud commits suicide in EFCC custody

Italian man accused of $110k fraud commits suicide in EFCC custody 1
By Wilson Uwujaren – EFCC Media & Publicity Unit

Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC regrets to announce the
passing of 52 years old Italian, Mr. Mauro Zanin (pictured above), a
suspected fraudster two days before he was scheduled to appear in court.

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. 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 30th May, 2012 for further

The Commission had filed a five count charge against him in court and
got a Wednesday, June 20, 2012 as hearing date. He was served the court
papers to prepare his defence yesterday.

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.
Facts of the Case

The deceased, a confirmed fraudster, 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.

Wilson Uwujaren
Ag Head, Media & Publicity

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