Picture: How Jonathan’s Church Gift Donor, Gitto, DiedAfrica, Latest Politics Sunday, July 1st, 2012
FIFTY-two-year-old Domenico Gitto, the Italian national and Managing Director of Gitto Construzioni Generali Nigeria Limited may have died of heart attack.
Sources told The Guardian that Gitto, worried over a pile up of unpaid debts by federal and state governments, had gone to the office of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, Mr. Godsday Orubebe, to seek his assistance to enable him meet President Jonathan. The President, in turn, would be persuaded to prevail on Ministries, Departments and Agencies to pay outstanding debts that were crippling the company’s activities.
The meeting was not to be. While in the office, Gitto clutched his chest in what presumably was a heart attack and was rushed to the National Hospital Abuja where he later died.
A quiet operative, he was not known until President Jonathan mentioned him as leading in the rebuilding and donation of a church in his hometown.
Opposition parties and the civil society had criticised acceptance of the church by the President, saying it compromised his oath of office.
Gitto, however, denied any wrongdoing, saying the company renovated the church as part of it’s policy of giving free construction, medical and advisory services in line with its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to communities within its areas of operation.
Gitto Construzioni Generali Nigeria Limited is handling over 12 construction projects for the Federal Government and the States of Kogi, Bayelsa, Cross River, Rivers, Nasarrawa and Akwa Ibom.
Of these, only Akwa Ibom State is duly up to date in fulfillment of its contractual obligations. Others have outstanding payments.
The company has been facing pressure from Nigerian bankers to pay up on loans. Sources say the company owes Union Bank and Diamond Bank N10b and N6b respectively. In addition, a third bank, FCMB, has written to the Federal Ministry of Works, asking that all funds due for payment to the company be paid it since the construction firm has fallen behind in payment of over N5b loan.
The firms creditors in Italy have also taken it to court over non-payment of loans it obtained to execute projects in Nigeria. The firm stood the risk of its parent company being taken over in Italy by creditors as it had no way of settling its debts without corresponding payments in Nigeria.
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