The Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), has called for an independent investigation into bribery allegations made against the former Managing Director of the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR), Mr. Asante Berko.
GII made the request in an open letter to the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo dated April 20, 2020.
Mr. Berko resigned on Wednesday, April 15, 2020 after he was dragged to court in the United States for allegedly making illegal payments to gain approval for a client’s power plant project in Ghana.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission last 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 allegedly 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, were not named in the court documents but the US Securities and Exchange Commission said he arranged the bribes for a Turkish energy company and funnelled the alleged money through a Ghana-based intermediary.
The local company then allegedly made the payments to government officials.
GII in the letter entreated the government to act promptly to safeguard “Ghana’s international image, governance and the country’s national anti-corruption agenda”.
The organization further called for the prosecution of culpable persons without fear or favour as public officials must demonstrate the highest standards of integrity in the performance of their duties.
GII also urged the government to publish the findings of its independent investigation.
“To ensure, in the spirit of transparency and accountability, that government will publish the findings of the investigations to assist public officials and politicians to recognise and desist from similar incidences of corruption (i.e. if anything untoward is found) in the future,” GII added in the open letter.
Other organizations such as the Institute of Energy Securities (IES) has expressed dissatisfaction over the government’s reaction to the allegations and its acceptance of Mr. Asante’s resignation without conducting investigations.
Former TOR MD denies bribery allegation
The former banker, Asante Berko in a statement clarified that although the US SEC had initiated proceedings against him, allegations that he bribed government officials and MPs are completely false.
“While it is true that the SEC has just this week issued such proceedings against me, the allegations that government officials and Members of Parliament were bribed by me are completely false.”
Click here for the full open letter from the GII.