A Deputy Power Minister under the erstwhile John Mahama administration, John Jinapor has denied ever playing a role in the purchasing of a power plant project in 2015.
The US Securities and Exchange Commission in a lawsuit said a former executive at Goldman’s London subsidiary facilitated up to $4.5 million to help a Turkish company to win a contract for a power plant during Ghana’s chronic power crisis (dumsor) under Mahama’s administration.
It emerged that some government officials were bribed totaling $2.5 million by intermediaries of the Turkish energy company, AKSA, in their bid to land a power deal with government.
Reacting to this in an interview monitored by ABC News, Mr. Jinapor said his substantive Power Minister, Dr. Kwabena Donkor was the one who handled the AKSA deal with the Turkish and never got involved in it.
According to him, he was never assigned on the deal so, he can’t give details about the project since he knows little of it because Dr. Kwabena Donkor pioneered everything and represented government on major discussions.
He, however, expressed conviction that his former boss did due diligence and acted in the interest of the country.
He maintained that Dr. Kwabena Donkor went through the right processes to get the project approved by Parliament and that solved the country’s energy crisis.
“If you’ll remember Dr. Donkor came at the time we had serious challenges with the power sector so AKSA was one of the projects he handled and felt it would help us. And he saw through it, got all the relevant approvals from both PURC and others through to Parliament, and eventually as I speak to you AKSA gave us power.”
“As Deputy Minister, he didn’t give me responsibility on AKSA. With the AKSA project, my minister was the one who pioneered everything but he didn’t give me any role to play in it. I’m sure he was competent enough to handle it,” he said.
“I’m saying that as deputy to the minister, I wasn’t given that assignment, that’s all I can say. I served him as his deputy for the one year period. He did what he could do and he left, and whatever job he gave me I also tried to do it to the best of my knowledge. On AKSA, he didn’t assign me that responsibility,” he reechoed.
The Managing Director of Tema Oil Refinery, Asante Berko who has been charged by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission for orchestrating a bribery scheme has rejected the charges.
Mr. Berko, in response to the allegations which have received vast media coverage, said in a release Tuesday that the SEC’s claims are “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,” he wrote in the statement.
He has subsequently resigned from his position as TOR MD.