by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Friday, July 22, 1994:
DAP calls for full inquiry into the whereabouts of the Standard Chartered Bank Mocatta gold coin and the disturbing discrepancies in the various explanations about the Missing gold coin
The Minister for Youth and Sports, Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman must be commended for his frank and forthright manner in admitting his role in the episode over the missing Standard Chartered Bank Mocatta gold coin, worth US$10,000.
On Wednesday, at the Subang Airport on his return from the Penang Cabient meeting, Datuk Ghani said he received the gold coin from a representative of Standard Chartered’s Pic’s Plc’s Mocatta bullion division at the end of 1991 and returned it after showing it to the relevant agencies.
He said as Deputy Finance Minister in 1991, he received the coin when eh met a delegation from Hong Kong-based Mocatta together with some Finance Ministry officials.
He said that at a meeting with the Treasury, Bank Negara and Customs officials, he used the coin as an exhibit. After the meeting, he returned to coin to Dr. Steven Goh, whom he described as “one of the members of the Mocatta delegation”.
Ghani said that he was very surprised that this matter cropped up after so many years and that the “British media is very presumptuous to say that a Minister could be bought with one gold coin.”
I fully agree with Datuk Ghani Othman that I also do not believe that a Malaysian Minister could be bought with one gold coin.
However, certain disturbing discrepancies have emerged in the various explanations about the missing Standard Chartered into these discrepancies so that the name of Ghani Othman could be fully cleared.
These disturbing discrepancies are as follows:
• On Wednesday, Ghani Othman said he had returned the gold coin through Dr. Steven Goh.
• Yesterday morning, Standard Chartered Banking Malaysia Sdn. Bhd. executive director Razman Hashim told reporters after a signing ceremony that the bank concurred with Ghani’s statement that he returned the coin in late 1991.
• Razman said: “Everything is now in order. The gold coin was returned some time in late 1991. I do not know the exact date but it was returned and that is all there is to it.”
• In actual fact, the Mocatta gold coin had not been returned. This emerged when Razman’s statement was contradicted by Dr. Steven Goh later who admitted that he had not returned the gold coin, as he had misplaced it and would compensate the bank for the loss of the one kilo gold coin.
• This led to a later statement yesterday evening by the chief executive officer of Standard Chartered, Ron Emerson that the bank considered the matter closed and regretted that a distorted leak o an internal investigation in the conduct and expenses of certain Mocatta employees had caused embarrassment to Ghani and the Malaysian Government.
The raises the question as to why Standard Chartered was so keen to declare that the gold coin had been returned when this was not the case?
Furthermore, did Dr. Steven Goh lodge a police report of the missing Mocatta gold coin?
• The final discrepancy is about Dr. Steven Goh’s role. Ghani said in Alor Star yesterday that he handed the gold coin to Dr. Goh because he was led to believe that Dr. Goh was the one who could return the coin to the owners at that time. However, the Hong Kong based Mocatta has issued a statement saying that it had no knowledge of a Dr. Steven Goh!
These discrepancies are very disturbing and not good for Ghani Othman, although there may be innocent explanations for them.
This is why DAP calls for a full inquiry into the whereabouts of the missing Mocatta gold coin and the disturbing discrepancies in the various explanations about the missing gold coin.