The Executive Director of the Institute of Energy Securities (IES), Paa Kwasi Anamua Sakyi has expressed his dissatisfaction with the resignation of the Managing Director of the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR), Asante Berko.
Mr. Berko resigned on Wednesday, April 15, 2020 after he was dragged to court for allegedly making illegal payments to gain approval for a client’s power plant project in Ghana between 2015 and 2016.
Mr. Sakyi on Eyewitness News pointed out that government could have independently investigated the corruption allegations levelled against Mr. Berko.
He also posited that the government should have asked Mr. Berko to step aside while it conducts its independent investigation, rather than just accepting his resignation.
“Let us ask ourselves; what wrong has Mr. Berko done in all of this? I think we are getting to the point where foreign entities and other countries accuse one of our own and we just jump ahead and act on it.
The government could have asked Mr. Berko to step aside for them to investigate on their own and then make an informed decision because I think this is becoming rampant and that is where we need to be checking these things from.”
“If the government meant to go into this, they could have asked Mr. Berko to step aside. They could have asked Mr. Berko not to resign but just step aside and prove the case or otherwise. Now that he has resigned and they have received it, I do not think the government will pursue this [case].”
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission earlier this week charged Mr. Berko who is a former banker at Goldman Sachs Group Inc, 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 but the US Securities and Exchange Commission said he 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.
Mr. Berko however in a statement on Tuesday denied making such an arrangement for the US$2.5 million bribes to be paid.
“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.