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Company boss denies shoddy job claims

Staff Writer
Managing director of ASA Enterprises, Ajit Ahuja denied yesterday that his company had done a shoddy job in the Serowe Emergency Water Supply project.

The 66-year-old was giving evidence for the state in the case in which principal engineer at the Department of Water Affairs, Ephraim Kelaeng is facing corruption charges in the award of a P80 million tender.

In his testimony, Ahuja said that his company bid for the job only to be told that Unik Construction who bid at a higher price had won the tender. He followed up the matter with the Public Procurement and Assert Disposal Board (PPDAB) and was informed that his company had been disqualified. He said that at a meeting attended by the PPADB boss Armando Lionjanga and the board secretary, he saw some correspondence related to the tender. He said the correspondence had negative remarks made by Kelaeng, which had cost his company the tender.

His company was alleged to have failed to do the Serowe project and to deploy enough manpower at the site. He said that regrettably he was told that the tender awarded to Unik could not be cancelled.

"They said they will do investigations and report back to me," said Ahuja. Kelaeng is alleged to have nullified a positive

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reference letter written for ASA by Water Affairs Department senior engineer, Joseph Mark Nyandiko. ASA had previously worked on the Serowe Emergency Water Supply project for the Water Affairs Department and had asked for a reference based on their work there.

The work was overseen by Nyandiko.Despite denying that his company had performed badly in the Serowe project, Ahuja had little to say when defence lawyer, Tony Matilo probed him about a report from Guoflux, the company that supervised the Serowe Emergency Water Supply project.

Among the issues raised in the report is that the company did not meet the set deadline because of its poor performance caused by lack of resources and deployment of staff to the site of construction.

In reply Ahuja stated that ASA had been granted an extension to complete the Serowe project whose delay he attributed to factors beyond the company's control. But Matilo asserted that what was contained in Kelaeng's reference about ASA was true because it had failed to finish the Serowe tender on time. The case continues today when the state will call another witness.



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