by Friday Olokor, Abuja
A 52-years-old Italian, Mr. Mauro Zanin, was on Tuesday found dead in his detention room at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission headquarters in Abuja two days before his planned arraignment.
Spokesman for the EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, confirmed the incident, saying the Italian was “found motionless in the bathroom of the commission’s detention facility in Abuja at about 4.50am”.
He said, “All efforts by the duty officers and a team of EFCC medical personnel led by Dr. Gideon Osi 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 Maitama police station for investigation.
“The deceased was arrested by the Nigerian Immigration Service following a complaint by one Ahamefula Ewuzie that he fraudulently obtained the $111,000 from Gladwaters Nigeria Limited.”
Uwujaren added, “He was transferred to the Commission on May 30, 2012 for further investigation.
“The commission had filed five counts against him in court and got June 20 as hearing date.
“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, by Mr. Nicola Bazzani, First Secretary and Deputy Head of Mission at the Italian Embassy, and every day by his lawyer, Mr. Ugochukwu Onyejiuto.”
The spokesman quoted Onyejiuto as saying, “It is important to say that I took this matter pro bono, with the hope that he would 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 had a 30-year-old son, who is a lawyer in Italy, but he was always telling them all was well.
Uwujaren added, “Dr. Mma Wokocha, the complainant, expressed shock over the news of the death of the suspect, wondering how she would recover the huge sum of money obtained from her by the deceased.
“The deceased allegedly obtained the money from Wokocha under the guise of selling used Dredger Italgraghe SGT 200 to them, to execute a dredging contract in the Niger Delta.
“The suspect sent them a bill of lading but their long wait for the ship, MSC Trinidad, to berth was futile. Unknown to the complainant the bill of lading was forged as the ship indicated had ceased to exist long before they ever met the deceased three years ago.”
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