The Ministry of Manpower says the accused managed a shell company to bring in foreign workers without any intention of providing them with work
State Courts in Singapore yesterday (6 December) sentenced 53-year-old Mui Chee Mun to 42 months in jail for fraudulently obtaining work passes for foreign workers and for accepting kickbacks for their continued employment.
He is also permanently barred from employing foreign workers, said the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) in a statement.
MOM said their investigations revealed that Mui ran a shell company, Blue Apple Design Pte Ltd, to bring in foreign workers but did not have any intention of giving them work.
He then applied for work passes using the company director’s details without the latter’s knowledge and was able to obtain work passes for 37 foreign workers from May 2014 to February 2015.
Mui collected more than $46,000 in kickbacks from the foreign workers when he forced them to pay monthly ‘dues’ in order to keep their work passes up to date but released them to seek their own employment illegally.
He also “made CPF contributions to local ‘phantom workers’, fabricated employment contracts and salary vouchers to avoid detection and to give the impression that he was operating a genuine company,” said MOM.
“The accused had devised an elaborate scam to cheat MOM to approve work passes for work that was non-existent, and subsequently profited by collecting kickbacks from the foreign workers,” said Kandhavel Periyasamy, director of employment inspectorate at MOM’s Foreign Manpower Management Division.
“These are serious offences as they severely undermine our work pass controls. We will continue to investigate and take strong enforcement action against such individuals.”
Mui’s accomplice, 42-year-old released worker, Reza Salim, was also sentenced to 18 months in jail following his conviction of 31 counts abetting Mui in collecting kickbacks.
Reza helped Mui ‘recruit’ foreign workers and was paid a monthly salary of $1,200 for his services.
Under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act (EFMA), individuals found guilty of obtaining work passes illegally can face a fine of $6,000 per offence and imprisonment six months or more while illegally accepting money or benefits as a condition of employment can get offenders jail time up to two years or a fine of $6,000 for each offence, or both.