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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Bestino investors disperse after meeting PM's officer


After spending a rainy night camped out in front of the Prime Minister's Office gates in Putrajaya, the 200 investors of theBestino Holdings gold scheme have decided to disperse. 

According to the spokesperson for the group, K Kunasekaran, the decision was reached after an hour-long meeting with PM's special officer on Indian issues, Ravin Ponniah, this afternoon. 
NONE"He gave us the assurance that a meeting will be set up among Finance Minister II Husni Hanadzlah, Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), Bestino directors, the Attorney-General's Chambers and our lawyer. 

"He said he will arrange this as soon as possible, after we send a letter via our lawyer, Tommy Thomas, to request for the meeting," Kunasekaran (above) said when contacted.

He said that the meeting would discuss the outcome of the RM24.2 million in Bestino funds frozen by BNM pending the trial of four Bestino directors charged in 2011 with illegal deposit taking and money laundering. 

"We will also be discussing the RM438 million and gold bars that Bestino claims it is in possession of," he said. 

Ravin met with the group's representatives at 12.30pm today, after the investors blocked the public entrance to the PMO. 

Kunasekaran said police had at that point threatened to arrest the investors if they did not clear out within 20 minutes. 

The investors, mostly middle-aged and elderly from Negri Sembilan, Perak, Penang, Kedah, Kelantan and Johor, had arrived yesterday morning, prepared with mats, stoves and tents, to camp outside the PMO until their complaints are attended to.

Prior notice of their arrival at PMO was made via fax and courier mail on Oct 22, but Kunasekaran said that no reply was given. 

Not the first time


On Oct 18, a busload of Bestino investors turned up at the PMO to secure an appointment to see the prime minister, but they were told a response will be given by letter.

However, they later received a letter that said no appointment would be granted as the matter had been referred to BNM.

NONEThe investors had already sent a memorandum to BNM in December 2011, and met with BNM officers on their complaints in March this year. 

To date, at least six memoranda have been submitted and multiple meetings with various officers, including Husni have taken place, but to no avail. 

A total of 6,764 investors, mostly blue-collared retirees, have invested RM411 million in the Bestino gold bar scheme, which went belly-up after a BNM raid on the company three years ago. 

The investors are seeking government intervention to compel Bestino to return their money.

Their woes precede that of 60,000-odd investors affected by a raid on the Genneva gold investment scheme recently. 

Genneva has been publicly endorsed by prominent individuals, including Deputy Finance Minister Donald Lim and former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who graced the company's launch.

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