15 Jul 2017

Cake decorator's company loses West Coast water treatment contract

9:05 pm on 15 July 2017

A company run by an Auckland cake decorator has lost the contract to upgrade two Westland water treatment plants.

Water running from a tap

The contract was to upgrade two drinking water treatment plants. Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

The Westland District council has terminated the contract, worth almost half a million dollars, after it was put on hold earlier this year, amid concerns about how it was awarded.

Techno Economics Services was due to upgrade two drinking water treatment plants in Whataroa and Kumara, worth $470,000.

In a statement, Council chief executive Robin Reeves said the contract was terminated this week.

Mr Reeves said that was because of delays in carrying out the upgrades, created by the council's ongoing internal investigations.

The council was now negotiating with another company to take over the contract and carry out the upgrades, he said.

In March, it emerged that Techno Economic Services was awarded the contract to upgrade the plants, despite having no experience with such projects.

The company's sole director and shareholder, Neha Bubna, was also the sole director and shareholder of Cake Culture, a cake decorating company in Waiuku, South Auckland.

The council began a review of all contracts issued by its assets manager, Vivek Goel, who is on leave from his position.

A Serious Fraud Office investigation is also underway.