Asante K. Berko, the Managing Managing of the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) has resigned, two days after the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged him in a New York court for violating the US Foreign Corrupt Practice Act (FCPA).
Berko who was appointed MD of the country’s only oil refinery in January 2020, tendered in his resignation today April 15, 2020, and the President has accepted it.
The SEC’s complaint which has been filed in the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York, charges Berko with violating the anti-bribery provisions of the FCPA and federal securities laws. The SEC is seeking monetary penalties against Berko among other remedies.
The SEC alleges that 46-year-old Berko, a dual US and Ghana citizen who is a former executive of Goldman Sachs in London, a subsidiary of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. of the US, helped his firm’s client, a Turkish energy company, to funnel at least $2.5 million to a Ghana-based intermediary to pay illicit bribes to Ghanaian government officials in order to gain their approval of an electrical power plant project.
The SEC in its complaint, further alleges that Berko helped the intermediary pay more than $200,000 in bribes to various other government officials, and Berko personally paid more than $60,000 to members of the Ghanaian parliament and other government officials.
The SEC indicates that, Berko took deliberate measures to prevent his employer from detecting his bribery scheme, including misleading his employer’s compliance personnel about the true role and purpose of the intermediary company.
Berko, has denied the allegations and charges in sections of the Ghanaian media.
By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi