Jindal Denies Giving US$1M to JFK

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Indian steel giant, Jindal Steel and Power Limited (JSPL), has denied media reports that it gave US$1 million cash to the John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital.

The J.F.K. Memorial Hospital is Liberia’s leading referral hospital. Media reports in Monrovia suggest that JSPL donated US$1 million to the JFK Medical Centre through President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf's sister, Jenny Bernard, to help renovate and provide some medications to the hospital.

Reports also suggest that the whereabouts of the donation from the Indian Steel and Power giant remain unknown. Jindal Steel and Power Limited, in a statement issued in Monrovia over the weekend, categorically denied the allegation clarifying that it did not give US$1 million cash to the J.F.K. Hospital, “let alone through an intermediary.”

“In fact, there was no cash given to any Liberian government official as stated in the media,” JSPL said. The company explained that President Sirleaf made a specific request to the Chairman of Jindal Steel and Power Ltd, Mr. Naveen Jindal, during the latter's visit to Liberia last year to help with the hospital’s imaging diagnostic center.

JSPL noted that its Chairman, Mr. Naveen Jindal, offered to assist with the setting up of an O.P. Jindal Imaging Diagnostic Centre at the JFK Memorial Hospital. The Diagnostic Centre, according to JSPL, is to have a MRI machine and other medical equipment, at a total cost of over US$1 million.

 Meanwhile, Jindal Steel and Power Ltd says it is awaiting conclusive discussions with the government of Liberia’s officials on the setting up of a power plant or any other suitable opportunity in the iron ore mining sector for expanding its limited presence in the country so it could participate in the economic transformation of Liberia. The Indian firm has already expressed interest in investing in Liberia's energy and mining sectors.

 The J.F.K. Medical Center was built at the request of Liberian President William V.S. Tubman, whose 1961 visit with U.S. President John F. Kennedy laid the groundwork for the United Sates Agency for International Development’s (USAID) funding for a national medical center in Liberia.

 The project was funded with a US$6.8 million loan, US$9.2 million in grants from USAID and a US$1 million contribution from the Liberian Government. Construction began in 1965 and the facility opened on July 27, 1971.

When dedicated, the Medical Center was composed of four institutions: John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital; Maternity Hospital; Tubman National Institute of Medical Arts (a paramedical and nursing school) AND Catherine Mills Rehabilitation Hospital (a psychiatric care facility).

The maternity hospital was rebuilt in 1981 with funding from the Japanese government and named the Liberian-Japanese Friendship Maternity Hospital.

The Catherine Mills Rehabilitation Hospital was completely destroyed during the Liberian civil conflict.

 Jindal Steel and Power Limited (JSPL) is an Indian steel and energy company based in New Delhi, India. With turnover of approximately US$3.56 billion, JSPL is a part of about US$ 17 billion diversified Jindal Group Conglomerate. It is a leading player in steel, power, mining, oil and gas and infrastructure in India. The company produces steel and power through backward integration from its own captive coal and iron-ore mines.

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