Former director of Koa Low Engineering charged for falsely declaring salaries in work pass applications
A former director of Koa Low Engineering was on Thursday (Mar 16) charged in court for submitting false information in work pass applications and for demanding kickbacks from his foreign employees.
Indian national Sivasundaram Veeramani, 37, is accused of falsely declaring, on behalf of the company, the fixed monthly salaries of 20 foreign employees between November 2015 and March 2016. He declared the monthly salary to be at least S$4,800 in order to meet the minimum salary requirement for an Employment Pass.
He allegedly knew that the foreign employees would be paid less than the declared salaries in their Employment Pass applications, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said in a media release.
In addition, between September 2015 and February 2016, Sivasundaram allegedly demanded kickbacks from 16 foreign employees ranging from S$1,500 to S$2,200, as a condition for them to remain employed by the company.
The kickbacks, which amounted to S$34,500, have since been returned to most of the affected workers, MOM said.
Sivasundaram faces a total of 42 charges under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act (EFMA) - 20 for submitting false information in work pass applications, 16 for demanding kickbacks and another six for engaging in a conspiracy with another employer in 2014 to hire foreign workers without valid work passes, said MOM.
It added that Koa Low Engineering was also charged in court on Thursday for similar false declaration and kickback offences.
An employer who submits false information in work pass applications can be fined up to S$20,000, imprisoned up to two years or both per charge, said MOM.
For collecting kickbacks, the offender can be fined up to S$30,000, jailed up to two years or both per charge. Anyone convicted of illegal employment can be fined a minimum of S$5,000 to a maximum of S$30,000 and/or imprisoned for up to one year per charge.
"MOM may also ban the offender and company from employing new foreign workers and not grant any work pass renewals," it said.
The case has been adjourned to Apr 27, 2017.
The ministry said hat it conducts "proactive checks to detect and enforce against false applications," adding that foreign employees who are pressured into giving kickbacks should seek help from MOM by calling 6438 5122 or the Migrant Workers’ Centre at 6536 2692.