The Managing Director of the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR), Asante Berko has resigned.
His resignation comes 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 from 2015 through to 2016 in Ghana.
A press statement issued by the Director of Communications at the Presidency, Eugene Arhin, indicated that President Akufo-Addo has accepted the resignation, and has since notified the Board of Directors of TOR about the development.
In the release, no reason was given for the resignation which he communicated to the president on Wednesday April 15, 2020.
“The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has on Wednesday 15th April, 2020, received the resignation from office of Mr. Asante Berko as the Managing Director of the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR). This was after he submitted his resignation letter, dated 15th April, 2020, to the President,” excepts of the release said.
Read the full release here:
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.
However, Mr. Berko in a statement on Tuesday, a day before his resignation, denied making such an arrangement for the US$2.5 million bribes to be paid, although he admitted that he was facing prosecution in the US for alleged fraud.
“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.