The Managing Director of the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR), Asante Berko has resigned from his position as the Managing Director over a recent bribery allegations leveled against him by the United States SEC.
This was contained in a press statement issued by the Director of Communications at the Presidency, Eugene Arhin, indicating that President Akufo-Addo has accepted the resignation.
Mr Berko’s resignation comes after he was dragged to court in the United States for allegedly bribing some Ghanaian Government officials, including MPs to gain approval for a client’s power plant project from 2015 through to 2016 in Ghana.
No reason has so far, been given for the resignation which he communicated to the Board of Directors of TOR
“The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has on Wednesday 15th April, 2020, received the resignation from office of Mr. Asante Berko as the Managing Director of the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR). This was after he submitted his resignation letter, dated 15th April, 2020, to the President,” portions of the statement read.
On Monday, April 13, 2020, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission charged Mr. Berko, a former banker at Goldman Sachs Group Inc, on the grounds that he helped pass millions of dollars in bribes to Ghanaian officials to curry favour for his clients’ plans to build an electrical power plant.
The SEC said in a complaint filed in New York that Mr Berko “took deliberate measures to prevent his employer from detecting bribery schemes” and that the bank he worked for is not facing any charges.
Mr Berko was alleged to have arranged about $2.5 dolloar in bribes to gain approval for a client’s power plant project from “2015 through at least 2016,” according to court documents from New York.
The SEC alleges that the banker arranged for an unnamed Turkish energy company to funnel between $3m and $4.5m to a Ghana-based company that intended to use the funds to bribe government officials who could approve the company’s plans to build a power plant.
Mr Berko, a US citizen, also facilitated payments of more than $200,000 in bribes to other government officials and personally paid more than $60,000 to members of the Ghanaian government and other officials, the SEC said.
“Mr Berko orchestrated a scheme to bribe high-level Ghanaian officials in pursuit of firm business and his own enrichment,” said Charles Cain, chief of the SEC Enforcement Division’s Foreign Corrupt Practices Act unit.
The government officials, along with the companies, are not named in the court documents but the SEC suit says that the local company allegedly made the payments to government officials.
However, Mr. Berko in a statement on Tuesday, a day before his resignation, denied the allegations leveled against him, but admitted that he was facing prosecution in the US for some alleged fraud.
“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,” he said in the statement.