The U.S. securities regulator on Monday charged a former banker at Goldman Sachs Group Inc GS.N for arranging at least $2.5 million in bribes to be paid to Ghana government officials to gain approval for a client’s power plant project.
The Securities and Exchange Commission said Asante Berko, a former employee at a subsidiary of the U.S. lender, arranged the bribes for a Turkish energy company to funnel the money to a Ghana-based intermediary, which then paid the local officials.
It must be noted that Mr Asante Berko, a 46-year-old Investment banker, was appointed as the Managing Director of the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) in January this year.
“Goldman Sachs fully cooperated with the SEC’s investigation and as stated the SEC in its press release, the firm’s compliance personnel took appropriate steps to prevent the firm from participating in the transaction,” company spokeswoman Nicole Sharp said.
Berko helped the Ghana-based intermediary pay more than $200,000 in bribes to various other government officials, and personally paid more than $60,000 to members of the Ghanaian parliament and other government officials, the SEC statement said, adding that Berko took deliberate measures to prevent his employer from detecting the bribery scheme.
The regulator has accordingly filed a complaint against Mr Berko at the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York. The regulator is seeking monetary penalties, among other reliefs against Mr Berko.