Serious Fraud Office investigating $10m water treatment contract

The Westland District Council has put on hold a $450,000 water treatment contract that was awarded to a firm owned by a cake decorator.

It's not the only contract under scrutiny. The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) is investigating another deal worth $10 million won by the same person.

The council employee responsible for organising contracts is now on leave.

The owner of Cake Culture is Neha Bubna, also known as Neha Bansil - and she also owns Techno Economic Services, which won two wastewater contracts with Westland District Council.

One is the $450,000 upgrade to water treatment plants at Kumara and Whataroa - a contract that is now on hold.

The other is a new $10 million wastewater plant for Franz Josef that's been scrapped as too expensive.

Newshub tried to find Ms Bubna at her company's registered office in Pukekohe and then at her address in Auckland.

She rang to ask us to leave and refused to comment.

The council employee in charge of contracts is Vivek Goel. He is on leave, and the SFO is investigating.

The SFO was already investigating the $10 million contract when Council approved the second smaller contract in January, yet the Mayor says Councillors weren't told.

Westland District Council says it hasn't paid out any money and nothing is missing from the books.

However, a new committee has been set up to examine all contracts that have been signed off in the last three years.