Director jailed for graft, assaulting MOM officer

Director jailed for graft, assaulting MOM officer

The managing director of a construction company was jailed for three weeks and fined $169,000 on Monday, for receiving kickbacks from foreign workers and assaulting a Manpower Ministry (MOM) officer.

Sheng Jianzhong, a Singapore permanent resident, was also barred from hiring foreign workers, said MOM in a statement yesterday.

The 40-year-old had received $85,380 in kickbacks as managing director of Sheng Yu Construction Builders from September 2012 to January 2013.

This came from 24 foreign workers, who had to pay him to be hired.

After one worker complained in February 2013, MOM raided the construction site in Jalan Legundi near Sembawang Road.

When an MOM officer tried to collect evidence, Sheng grabbed the officer's left arm and thumb to stop him, causing injury.

Sheng faced 38 charges of receiving kickbacks, one charge of obstruction of justice and one charge of use of criminal force to a public servant.

The prosecution proceeded with 13 charges of receiving kickbacks and one charge of use of criminal force to a civil servant, with the rest taken into consideration.

In March, Singaporean Geng Shuzhen, 45, was convicted on three charges of receiving kickbacks. She was fined $15,000.

Last year, 15 employers were convicted of receiving kickbacks, compared to 17 in 2013.

Mr Kevin Teoh, divisional director of MOM's Foreign Manpower Management Division, said: "We take

a serious view of employers who collect kickbacks as it further increases the debt burden of foreign workers, and is detrimental to their well-being."

The MOM will keep clamping down on such practices, he added.

Under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act, most money collected from foreign workers will be deemed employment kickbacks, unless the reasons for collection are accounted for.

For each charge, those found guilty can be jailed for up to two years, fined up to $30,000, or both.

This article was first published on April 8, 2015.
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