The U.S. securities regulator has charged a former banker at Goldman Sachs over a bribery scheme facilitating bribery payments to Ghana government officials.
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The former banker, Asante Berko, who happens to be the boss of the Tema Oil Refinery is accused of passing millions of dollars in bribes to Ghanaian officials to curry favour for his clients’ plans to build an electrical power plant, the Securities and Exchange Commission alleged on Monday, April 13, 2020.
The report said Berko helped the Ghana-based intermediary pay more than $200,000 in bribes to various other government officials, and personally paid more than $60,000 to members of the Ghanaian parliament and other government officials.
Also, Mr. Berko took deliberate measures to prevent his employer from detecting the bribery scheme.
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, according to a FT.com report.
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.
Mr. Berko’s lawyer, Carl Loewenson of Morrison Foerster, said he had ‘no comment for now”, according to the Financial Times.
The SEC said Mr. Berko announced his resignation from Goldman in December 2016 and it became effective the following March.
Meanwhile, in January 2020, Mr. Berko was appointed chief executive of Tema Oil Refinery in Ghana by President Akufo-Addo.
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Ex-banker charged for 'arranging' $2.5m in bribes for government officials, MPs in power deal