A former managing director of Ghana's Tema Oil Refinery (TOR), Asante Berko, has been charged under the US' Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has charged Berko with orchestrating a bribery scheme to help a client win a contract to build and operate a power plant in Ghana.

The scheme involved a multi-million dollar payment schedule, with one payment triggered by a letter of credit (L/C) from the Ghanaian government.


The SEC's complaint charges Berko with violating the anti-bribery provisions of the FCPA and federal securities laws.

The SEC is seeking monetary penalties against Berko, among other remedies.

Widespread bribery

Berko, a dual citizen of the US and Ghana helped a Turkish energy company to funnel at least US$2.5 million to a Ghana-based intermediary to pay illicit bribes to Ghanaian government officials in order to gain their approval for a power plant project the SEC alleges.

It also accuses the former Goldman Sachs executive of helping the intermediary pay more than US$200,000 in bribes to various other government officials, while Berko personally paid more than US$60,000 to members of the Ghanaian parliament and other government officials.

L/C trigger

According to court documents, the intermediary emailed Berko a schedule for funding the bribery scheme.

A payment of US$1.5 million would fall due when the parties signed the power purchase agreement followed by a further US$1.5 million when the energy company received an L/C from the government;

A final payment of US$1.5 million would be payable when the power plant began operations.

This article represents the views of the author and not necessarily those of the ICC or Coastline Solutions.