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TOR Boss Resigns Over $4.5 Bribe Allegations

The Managing Director of Tema Oil Refinery (TOR), Asante Berko, has resigned following allegations by US regulators, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that he arranged a $4.5 million bribes on behalf of Turkish power company for some Ghanaian Government officials.

Mr Berko tendered in his resignation to President Akufo-Addo on Wednesday, April 15, two days after the allegations came public.

A statement issued by the Director of Communications at the Presidency, Eugene Arhin, says President Akufo-Addo has accepted Mr Asante Berko’s resignation, and duly notified the Board of Directors of TOR of this development.

“The President wished him well in his future endeavors,” it says, revealing that Mr Berko submitted his resignation letter on April 15.

It would be recalled that in a statement, US regulators had accused Mr Berko of facilitating the bribes.

But Mr Berko in a statement denied the bribery claims that while serving as an official of Goldman Sachs, he arranged a $4.5 million for a Turkish company to bribe Ghanaian government officials.

Rather he said he only got $2million as arrangee fee.

“The Turkish IPP agreed to pay me fee of $2million (1.3% of the capital raise) as I have spent the bulk of two years working on this transaction”, he stated in a statement issued yesterday.

According to him, while it is true that the Securities and Exchange Commission this week issued such proceedings against him, the allegations that government officials and members of parliament were bribed by him, “are completely false. I am therefore compelled to set the record straight.”

US Regulators had in a lawsuit accused Mr Berko, of arranging a $4.5 million in bribes to government officials in Ghana.

The amount, say the US regulators, was aimed at helping a Turkish company to secure a power contract in Ghana.

“From approximately 2015 through at least 2016 (the “relevant period”), while employed at the Subsidiary, 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”),” according to SEC in its lawsuit.

“To effect the corrupt scheme, Berko arranged for the Energy Company to funnel between $3 million to $4.5 million to a Ghana-based company (the “Intermediary Company”) to bribe various government officials responsible for approving the Power Plant Project.”

“The Energy Company transferred at least $2.5 million of the planned $3 million to $4.5 million to the Intermediary Company, all or most of which was used to bribe Ghanaian government officials.

But Mr Berko insists the allegations are not true.

He added that “I state categorically that I have not paid any bribes to government officials, members of Parliament not officials of parliament regarding the approval of this transaction.”

He admitted being an employee of Goldman Sachs up until December 2016.

—Daily Guide