Tema Oil Refinery MD, Asante Berko denies bribing government officials and MPs in power deal

A former banker at Goldman Sachs Group Inc, Asante Berko, has denied allegations that he arranged at least $2.5 million in bribes to be paid to Ghanaian government officials and Members of Parliament (MP) to ensure a Turkish company secures a power purchase agreement deal in Ghana.

Tema Oil Refinery boss Asante Berko

Asante Berko is currently the Managing Director (MD) of the Tema Oil Refinery, TOR.

His denial comes after the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged him for allegedly bribing Ghanaian government officials to gain approval for a client’s power plant project from “2015 through at least 2016,” according to court documents from New York.

Mr Berko allegedly sent the money for bribing the officials through a Ghana-based intermediary for onward disbursement.

However, in a statement issued by Mr Berko, he said that although the US SEC had initiated proceedings against him, the allegations levelled against him are completely false.

“While it is true that the SEC has just this week issued such proceedings against me, the allegations that government officials and Members of Parliament were bribed by me are completely false.”

“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 statement added.

Mr. Berko admitted that he “was indeed an employee of Goldman Sachs up until December 2016…and was part of the Goldman Sachs team that was to arrange the financing for this power transaction on behalf of the Turkish IPP.”

He chronicled the sequence of events, which according to him, were Goldman Sachs’ involvement in the deal.

He indicated that he was shocked at the SEC’s proceedings “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,” Asante Berko said.

Mr. Berko said hiss lawyers have instructed him to respond to the lawsuit. “I intend to contest the proceedings to clear my good name,” Asante Berko said.

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