Wednesday October 31, 2012
Bestino investors camp outside PM’s Office
By LEE YEN MUN
PUTRAJAYA: Driven to the brink of desperation after Bank Negara raided a gold investment firm three years ago, a group of investors camped outside the Prime Minister's Office here to seek his help.
Some 100 investors came with rolls of mats, supply of food and water and personal luggage with hopes to persuade Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to assist them retrieve their investments after the central bank froze the accounts of Bestino Golden House Sdn Bhd in 2009 pending a trial.
Bank Negara had raided Bestino's office on suspicion that it was carrying out illegal deposit collection.
The central bank confiscated RM24.2mil, which is being held as evidence pending court proceedings.
Last year, Bestino managing director Chong Yuk Ming and three company directors were charged in the Ipoh and Kuala Lumpur Sessions Courts with over 300 counts of money laundering and receiving deposits without a valid licence.
Bestino investors action committee spokesman K. Kunasekaran said they would not budge from the Prime Minister's Office until they receive a response from Najib.
“We want an appointment with the Prime Minister within a month and are prepared to camp out here until we get it,” he said, adding that more than 6,700 people are believed to have invested some RM411mil in the company's scheme.
Nasi lemak seller Roja Sinnaih from Ipoh said a significant part of her savings parked with the company was stuck because of the trial.
“I have never been married and my parents are no longer alive. I don't have any other source of income,” said Roja, who invested RM20,000 in the Bestino gold scheme from her life insurance and Employees Provident Fund savings.
Accounts executive Mary Arokiasamy, 49, said she invited her father and uncle to invest in the scheme offered by the company because “everything looked like it was being done legally”.
“My father has since passed away,” she said, adding that he invested RM10,000 while she put RM20,000 in the scheme.
Mary, a mother of three, said her 18-year-old daughter works part-time because she could not afford to send the girl to college.