Former TOR MD facing charges in US linked to controversial Torentco deal – IMANI


Former TOR MD facing charges in US linked to controversial Torentco deal – IMANI

Policy think-tank IMANI-Africa has linked the latest lease of the Tema Oil Refinery to the former Managing Director of the refinery, Asante Berko, who was arrested and sued in the USA for criminal offences.

According to IMANI, the deal to lease the refinery for six years is full of smoke and mirrors.

Explaining how Asante Berko is linked to the deal, IMANI noted that Asanke Berko and one Michael Darko are “obscuring their roles in the lease by using a string of shell companies”

IMANI’s assessment of the deal said: “In August 2022, TOR signs term sheet to lease its assets to Decimal Capital. Decimal is owned by Mr. Asante Berko, former CEO of TOR, who resigned after being sued by the US government for bribing government officials in Ghana whilst working for Goldman Sachs. Mr. Michael Darko is a Director of Decimal.

In September 2022, “Right to enter lease agreement with TOR shifts from Decimal to Baybridge Asset Management Limited (BAML). Most likely to obscure Mr. Berko’s role and his continued use of his political links to drive the transaction.

In November 2022, “Mr. Asante Berko is arrested in the UK based on a request by the US. He is charged with corrupting Ghanaian officials in a Turkish power plant deal. He transfers his shares to Darko Investment Company owned by Mr. Michael Darko.

In January 2023, “Torentco Asset Management is setup. It is owned by Mr. Michael Darko (with Mr. George Antwi as Director). TOR shifts relationship from Baybridge to Torentco for the same leasing deal.

“None of these entities have any track record,” the think tank’s assessment detailed.

The details of the deal have been opposed by many analysts and experts who believe that leasing the refinery at $22 million is a “bad deal.

The think tank shares the same assertion while noting that the deal is “shrouded in opacity, shadiness, and secrecy”.

Details of the deal at a glance

The Tema Oil Refinery is being leased group called Torentco Asset Management (TAM)(The company has no online presence).

The refinery will be leased to TAM for 6 years where Torentco is allowed to refine up to 8 million barrels of oil a year by paying $1 million every year as annual rent.

It will pay an additional rent amount of $1.067 million per month.

Under the deal, TAM will pay $0.5 for each extra barrel if it refines more than 8 million barrels.

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