Turkish energy producer paid $2.5 million in bribes for Ghana power plant contract – FT

Turkish power producer Aksa Energy allegedly paid $2.5 million in bribes to Ghanaian officials, in order to secure a 2015 contract for building an electricity plant in Ghana, the Financial Times reported on Tuesday.

The deal was brokered by Asante Berko, then executive director for U.S. bank Goldman Sachs’ London office, who himself purportedly received $2 million for his role in the bribery scheme, FT said. Aksa was the “unnamed energy company” that appeared in detail on a complaint filed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the government’s trade regulator, the business newspaper said, citing two people familiar with the agency’s investigation.

“At the time of the deal, Goldman and Aksa Energy were looking for opportunities to develop their businesses in Africa,” FT said. “(A more senior banker at the London office and Berko) agreed that Goldman would advise Aksa and arrange financing if the deal was successful.” In a statement on Tuesday, Aksa denied involvement in any legal proceedings relating to the case and said it was “ready to cooperate with the relevant U.S. authorities and share all documents and information.”

After Goldman Sachs discovered Berko’s part in the scheme, the U.S. lender terminated its involvement with the power plant, followed by Berko’s resignation months later. There were no charges against Goldman Sachs, FT said, citing the SEC complaint.

Goldman Sachs owned a 16.6 percent share in Aksa from 2012 until 2018, when it was bought back by Aksa’s parent company, Kazancı Holding, for $300 million, it reported.

Source: Ahval