The Managing Director of Tema Oil Refinery in the Republic of Ghana, Asante K. Berko has refuted bribery allegations levelled against him by the US Securities and Exchange Commission.
According to him, it is never true that he bribed former officials of the erstwhile administration for his client to get a power project contract while he worked for US based Goldman Sachs.
“I state categorically that I have not paid any bribes to government officials, Members of Parliament nor any officials of Parliament. I have had no contact with Members of Parliament nor officials of Parliament, regarding the approval of this transaction.
“The SEC’s proceedings have come as a complete surprise to me as the SEC in May 2017, interviewed me extensively. This was my only interaction with the SEC. I gave the SEC full and frank disclosure of my involvement in this transaction, as well as all payments I have received and the dates on which the payments were received. I have since not received any communication from the SEC until this week when my lawyer in the US was served with the civil proceedings and at which same time the news of the proceedings against me broke,” Mr Asante Berko said in a press release to respond to the allegation against him.
According to him, he intends to contest the proceedings to clear his good name stressing that he had already asked his lawyers to file his response to the allegations.
Mr Asante Berko is being charged by U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for “orchestrating a bribery scheme” and arranging at least $2.5 million in bribes to be paid to Ghana government officials and also bribing Members of Parliament.
The payment was allegedly made to gain approval for a client’s power plant project from “2015 through at least 2016,” according to court documents from New York.
The government officials, along with the companies, are not named in the court documents.
The Securities and Exchange Commission said the former banker arranged the bribes for a Turkish energy company to funnel the money to a Ghana-based intermediary.
The local company then allegedly made the payments to government officials.
“From approximately 2015 through at least 2016 (the “relevant period”), while employed at the Subsidiary [Goldman Sachs Group Inc], Berko schemed to bribe various government officials in the Republic of Ghana (“Ghana”) so that a client of the Subsidiary, a Turkish Energy Company (the “Energy Company”), would win a contract (the “Power Purchase Agreement”) to build and operate an electrical power plant in Ghana and sell the power to the Ghanaian government (the “Power Plant Project” or “Project”).”
Mr. Berko is reported to have arranged for the Energy Company to funnel between $3 million to $4.5 million to a Ghana-based intermediary company “to bribe various government officials responsible for approving the Power Plant Project.”
The Energy Company is said to have transferred at least $2.5 million of the planned $3 million to $4.5 million to the Intermediary Company.
Click on the link below for the full statement