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Moves to oust GDI from E100m MTN project

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By Timothy Simelane - SWAZI OBSERVER-31-Jul-2009

DAGGERS have been drawn against a property developer who is in a joint venture with Orbic for the construction of the E100 million MTN Foundation

Undercover forces have since researched the operations of GDI Concepts, whose Managing Director is Ian Williams and sent poisonous emails to media houses, in which they detail several allegations that have been tested and found to be false. The main contractor for the MTN Foundation is Orbic, who then went into a joint venture with GDI Concepts. Williams says he does not want to comment on suggestions that the clandestine forces come from other jealous property developers. “I have no reason to believe my colleagues would do this,” he says.

He however, strongly believes he is being abused by some people who have refused to pay him for the various jobs he has done since he started operations in Swaziland. An email document in the possession of this newspaper names at least 21 people said to be owed by Williams. However, this newspaper called a number of these, who said they were not owed anything by Williams, but that all deals made with his company were above board. Some of the said creditors are known business magnates. Others are hardware shops where Williams bought the goods. He explains that he had built a house for a certain businessman who later failed to pay him. “I got the material for the house on credit from some hardware shops. It is true that I have not paid some of them. All that is because I was not paid when I built a house for the woman,” he says.

The poisonous e-mail also alleges that Williams left loose ends in his various projects in South Africa, where he originates. However, this newspaper called one of Williams’s clients in Malelane, Dr Molopo who said Williams constructed and finished his house without any hassle. He has also completed various projects in Swaziland, and is now working on the Appostolic Church in Thokoza “He did a good job for me and I was happy. Never at any stage was he expelled,” he said. Josephine Nkosi also said she was happy with Williams’ services in Malelane.

An architect Richard Mugnus also said he was willing to discuss his dealings with Williams when he returns from SA, where he went for the weekend. The email also alleges that two of Williams’ business partners, Dale Friedlander and George Falconer left GDI amidsts a cloud of controversy. Falconer told the Swazi Observer that he left the company in good faith and there were no loose ends in his departure. “We went to Nedbank with Williams where we signed for the transfer of shares. I left GDI because I wanted to concentrate on selling of plots. I was not used to the construction industry,” he said. They also went to Robinson Bertrams where the transfer of the shares was confirmed. Meanwhile, Dale Friedlander also said there was no dispute when he left GDI. He said he still held Williams to high esteem as an honest builder.

Poisonous email investigated Williams says he has since instructed his lawyers to do something about the source of the poisonous email. He says when he finds the people behind it, he will definitely sue for defamation. “Depending on how my lawyers advise me, we can even go to the police to track the source. We have the email address but it is possible that that address is fictitious.” The address is known to the newspaper.

No complaints about GDI – MTN MTN Swaziland Corporate Affairs Manager Mpumelelo Makhubu says the company has no contractual obligations with DGI Concepts for the architectural work, which has since been completed. “We only signed a contract with Orbic Architects. We have no control on who Orbic decides to partner with in order to deliver the architectural designs which were adopted by the tender committee.” He says in light of this, MTN has not received any objections about GDI’s involvement.

GDI attaches businesswoman’s house GDI Concepts has obtained a court order and a writ of execution to attach the house belonging to Leo Maziya’s daughter Savannah. Savannah, also known as Sandanezwe has business interests in Swaziland and in South Africa. She allegedly failed to pay GDI Concepts over E845 000 for the construction of her property at Pine Valley. In court papers, Savannah is said to have breached the contract with GDI, subsequently landing in trouble. GDI, represented by Magagula and Hlophe Attorneys have since attached her property and await legal advice from his attorneys. Meanwhile, Williams says his storehouse has building material worth over E170 000, which was intended for the construction of the house.

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