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Former Goldman Sachs banker accused by US of bribery in Ghana

By 'Tofe Ayeni
Posted on Thursday, 16 April 2020 17:37

FILE PHOTO: The ticker symbol and logo for Goldman Sachs is displayed on a screen on the floor at the NYSE in New York
FILE PHOTO: The ticker symbol and logo for Goldman Sachs is displayed on a screen on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., December 18, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/

The US Securities and Exchange Commission has filed a complaint against former Goldman Sachs banker, Ghanaian Asante Berko, on accusations of bribery.

The complaint, filed in the state of New York against Asante Berko, a former executive of a foreign-based US bank holding company, accuses him of bribery.

However, the bank he worked for is not facing any charges.

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed the charged on 13 April stating Berko had violated section 30A of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934: the anti-bribery provision of the american Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA); a law created in 1977.

READ MORE: How young educated Ghanaians view corruption

Bribery charges

During the time of the alleged offences, 2015 to 2016,  Berko was executive director in Goldman Sachs’ London office

A US citizen, Berko allegedly helped a client win a government contract to build and operate an electric power plant in Ghana, which is in direct violation of the FCPA as per the official complaint:

“Berko schemed to bribe various government officials in the Republic of Ghana (“Ghana”) 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 (the “Power Plant Project” or “Project”.

Berko had arranged for his firm’s client, a Turkish energy company, to funnel at least $2.5m to an intermediary in Ghana, to bribe government officials for approval of an electric power plant project.

READ MORE: Ghana: Corruption and neglect of the north threatens security

Money paid

The complaint also alleges that Berko had helped the intermediary to pay more than $200,000 in bribes to various other government officials, as well as paying more than $60,000 in bribes himself.

According to the complaint, Berko took measures to ensure that his employer would not detect his bribery scheme, including misleading his employer’s compliance personnel about the true role and purpose of the intermediary company.

The SEC is seeking monetary penalties, among other punitive measures.

As reported by the Financial Times, Berko’s lawyer,  Carl Loewenson of Morrison Foerster, had no “no comment for now” on the allegations.

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