SINGAPORE: A former director, who misappropriated more than S$233,000 of his workers' salaries and caused a strike along the way, has been sentenced to 18 months' jail. 53-year-old Tan Kim Wah admitted to one count of criminal breach of trust between October 2010 and May 2011.
At the time of the offences, he was the director and shareholder of Vigour Technologies, a firm that repaired vessels and dealt with industrial plant engineering services and maintenance.
Tan was entrusted with his workers' salaries and overtime pay, which came up to almost S$234,000. He took the money for his own use. As a result, more than 100 workers did not receive their pay between October 2010 and March 2011. When questioned, Tan told the workers that the company did not have enough money to pay them and so there was a need to withhold their salary.
In August 2011, the workers went on a strike at the shipyard. The matter was brought up to the Manpower Ministry and the workers were eventually paid. In November 2011, Tan sold his HDB flat to make full restitution to the firm. In mitigation, his lawyer Toh Peng Ann said Tan has not only made full restitution but has been cooperative with authorities. The lawyer pleaded for leniency as Tan and his family do not have a roof over their heads. The father of one has booked a new three-room flat and he would have to pay a levy of S$40,000 when it is allotted in 2014. His wife needs him to be released as early as possible to earn money to pay the levy. Tan could have been jailed up to seven years and fined.