GII: Investigate bribery allegations against former TOR boss

The Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII) is demanding an immediate investigation into bribery allegations involving Asante K. Berko, former Chief Executive Officer of Tema Oil Refinery (TOR).

In an open letter to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo yesterday, the GII asked the President to authorise independent investigations into the matter to ensure transparency and accountability. 

It said although the government was preoccupied with the fight against the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), conscious efforts must be directed at addressing anti-corruption issues; else such allegations would be swept under the carpet.

“Mr President, GII is of the opinion that, it is incumbent on public officials, paid with public resources, to demonstrate the highest standards of integrity in the performance of their duties,” it said.

The investigations, the GII said, should be conducted by the appropriate state institution, and must also include Members of Parliament (MPs) and government officials, and if any official was found culpable, the appropriate sanctions be meted out without fear or favour.

To promote transparency and accountability, the GII asked for publication of the findings of the investigations by government to assist public officials and politicians to recognise and desist from similar incidences of corruption in the future.

“Mr President, it is important to note that, the implications of these allegations on Ghana’s international image, governance, the country’s national anti-corruption agenda and your government’s commitment to the fight against corruption are dire and the people of Ghana look up to your unalloyed leadership in this matter,” the letter stated.

The GII commended the President for referring the Airbus saga to the Office of Special Prosecutor (OSP) for investigations and requested that same alacrity was given to the current bribery allegations against the former TOR boss.

Last week, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of the United States of America (USA), which levelled the allegations, accused Mr Berko of arranging for an energy company to funnel between US$3 million to US$4.5 million to a Ghana-based company (the “intermediary company”) to bribe various government officials responsible for approving a power plant project.

It said the energy company transferred at least US$2.5 million of the planned US$3 million to US$4.5 million to the intermediary company, all or most of which was used to bribe Ghanaian government officials.

The suit, by the USA SEC alleged that: From approximately 2015 through at least to 2016 (the “relevant period”), while employed at the subsidiary, Berko schemed to bribe various Ghana government officials, so that a client of the subsidiary, a Turkish Energy Company (the “Energy Company”), would win a contract (the “Power Purchase Agreement”) to build and operate an electrical power plant in Ghana and sell the power to the Ghanaian government.

To effect the corrupt scheme, Berko arranged for the Energy Company to funnel between $3 million to $4.5 million to a Ghana-based company (the “Intermediary Company”) to bribe various government officials responsible for approving the Power Plant project.

However, Mr Berko, in a statement last week, denied any wrongdoing on his part as far as his involvement in the Power Plant project was concerned and subsequently resigned from his position as Managing Director of TOR.

BY CLAUDE NYARKO ADAMS


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