The MD of Tema Oil Refinery (TOR), Asante Berko, has reacted to claims he bribed government officials and MPs to gain approval for a power plant project.
The ex-Goldman banker has been cited in a civil suit by the Securities and Exchange Commission in the US for the alleged bribes.
The US SEC claims in its lawsuit filed on Monday that, Asante Berko, a former executive at the Goldman’s London subsidiary, facilitated up to $4.5million to help a Turkish company to win a contract for a power plant.
The said contract was approved in 2015, during Ghana’s chronic power crisis.
Mr. Berko, in response to the allegations which have received vast media coverage, said in a release Tuesday that the SEC’s claims are “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,” he wrote in the statement.
Mr. Berko says 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, however, chronicled the sequence of events, which according to him, were Goldman Sachs’ involvement in the deal.
He added that the SEC’s proceedings have come as a complete surprise to him “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 says he has instructed his lawyers to respond to the lawsuit. “I intend to contest the proceedings to clear my good name,” added the TOR boss.