Tata Steel in Liberia freed from disqualification

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Mumbai, Dec 20: Indian Company, Tata Steel has been cleared from disqualification by the Liberian government. The Government in September had disqualified Tata Steel from bidding process for the $1.6 billion-Western Clusteriron ore project on the grounds of 'external influence and impropriety'.

The Ministry of justice, Republic of Liberia, has informed Tata Steel that investigations did not show any involvement of the company in 'acts of impropriety', as alleged in media reports.

The Liberian government responded to Tata Steel's earlier letter objecting to it being barred from bidding, where the company denied the allegations made in the media. Tata Steel expressed anguish over the government's reaction without checking the veracity of the reports and not discussing it with the company, especially when Tata Steel's bid was rated very high and favourably on technical, financial and social terms by international consultant Deloitte & Touche, engaged by the Liberian government.

Besides Tata Steel, its bidding partner South Africa's Delta Mining Consolidated too was barred from bidding.

Delta later dragged the government to Liberia's Public Procurement and Concessions Commission, saying the government's verdict was based on reports that were baseless and lacked evidence. The commissions decision ruled in favour of Delta saying the government's action was unlawful. However, a clause in the tender documents gave the government the right to cancel the bid and restart it.

"The appeals board has decided that Tata Steel is eligible to participate in the re-tendered bidding process for the Western Cluster iron ore deposits,'' a Tata Steel statement said.

The company's interest in the Liberian iron ore project fits in well with its strategy of focusing on raw material security. It has been buying these raw material resources from Australia, Mozambique and Canada too, to ensure steady supply of iron ore for its British steel firm Corus.

OneIndia News (With inputs from Agencies)


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