Energy Expert Kojo Poku

Energy Expert, Kojo Poku, has debunked what he describes as trumped-up allegations of bribery levelled against immediate past Managing Director of Tema Oil Refinery (TOR), Asante Berko.

This follows a civil suit by the Securities and Exchange Commission in the US citing the ex-Goldman banker for the alleged bribes.

The US SEC claims in its lawsuit filed on Monday that, Asante Berko, a former executive at the Goldman’s London subsidiary, facilitated up to $4.5million to help a Turkish company to win a contract for a power plant.

Mr Berko has fought off the claims describing them as false.

“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,” Mr Berko wrote in the statement on April 14.

He has subsequently resigned per a statement signed by Director of Communication at the Presidency, Eugene Arhin, Wednesday.

But according to Kojo Poku, the investigation conducted by the US SEC failed to take into cognizance of Ghana’s local investigative bodies prior to establishing a case against Mr Berko.

Speaking on Joy FM’s Top Story on Wednesday, the energy expert expressed doubt in the level of due diligence done by the US body in this particular case.

“The Security and Exchange Commission is a very big institution in America and they have all the powers that is clouded to them that they can do a lot of investigations. So if they were now going to be able to go to court and prosecute such as case, and it was all with intent and seriousness, don’t you think they should have at least contacted agencies in Ghana to find out that those moneys that were sent into the country, what the purpose of those moneys were?”

He explained that the documents put out by the US SEC is premised on “the idea that $4.3 million being sent to Ghana purposely to pay bribes” which the energy expert stressed is untrue.

He also believes the media has been very unfair to the outgoing to MD and asked that the matter be followed religiously before conclusions are made.

“Somebody has trumped-up charges and filed it in court. And we have now gotten hold of this writ and everybody is making statements to the effect that whatever has been stated in that writ is true. Indeed some media houses have said ‘alleged’, but the Ghanaian populace and the media at large with some of the social comments that have come up go to the point that he is a corrupt person, a criminal… Some of these things are only allegations,” he said.