government think tank IMANI-Africa has connected the most recent lease of the Tema Oil Refinery to Asante Berko, the refinery’s previous managing director, who was detained and sued in the USA for criminal charges.
IMANI claims that the six-year leasing agreement for the refinery is a smoke and mirrors arrangement.
IMANI reported that Asante Berko and someone named Michael Darko are “obscuring their roles in the lease by using a string of shell companies” in an explanation of how Asante Berko is connected to the agreement.
According to IMANI’s evaluation of the agreement, TOR will sign a term sheet to lease its assets to Decimal Capital in August 2022. Mr. Asante Berko, a former CEO of TOR who resigned after being charged by the US government for bribing Ghanaian authorities while working for Goldman Sachs, is the owner of Decimal. One of Decimal’s Directors is Mr. Michael Darko.
“Right to enter lease agreement with TOR” transfers from Decimal to Baybridge Asset Management Limited (BAML) in September 2022. Most likely to conceal Mr. Berko’s involvement and ongoing use of his political connections as a driving force behind the deal.
Mr. Asante Berko is detained in the UK in November 2022 as a result of a US request. He is accused of bribing Ghanaian authorities in a transaction involving a Turkish power project. He transfers his shares to Mr. Michael Darko’s Darko Investment Company.
“Torentco Asset Management is established” in January 2023. Mr. Michael Darko, who also serves as the director, is the owner. For the same lease agreement, TOR switches its relationship from Baybridge to Torentco.
According to the evaluation by the research group, “None of these entities have any track record.”
Many analysts and professionals disagree with the terms of the arrangement because they think that leasing the refinery for $22 million is a “bad deal.”
The think tank makes the same claim but adds that the transaction is “shrouded in opacity, shadiness, and secrecy”.
A quick look at the deal’s details
A business by the name of Torentco Asset Management (TAM) is leasing the Tema Oil Refinery (the company has no web presence).
The refinery will be leased to TAM for 6 years, during which time Torentco is permitted to process up to 8 million barrels of oil annually in exchange for an annual rent payment of $1 million.
It will pay an extra $1.067 million in rent each month.
If TAM refines more than 8 million barrels, it must pay $0.5 for each additional barrel.