All 25 accused pleaded guilty to the charges for the false information given between May and August last year. They were arrested in May this year after the Manpower Ministry (MOM) had verified the forged papers with the institutions which supposedly issued the certificates.
Here is the full press release from MOM:
MOM prosecutes 25 foreigners for submitting forged academic certificates
20 sentenced to four weeks' imprisonment; five fined $5,000
The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) charged 25 foreigners on 16 July 2013 for furnishing false information to the Controller of Work Passes by submitting forged academic certificates to obtain work passes. This is the largest number of individuals brought to court so far this year for this offence.
Accused persons fraudulently obtained 24 S Passes and one Employment Pass
Investigations revealed that the 25 accused persons furnished false information to the Controller of Work Passes between May and August 2012 in their applications for work passes (Twenty-one are from Myanmar, three from India and one from the Philippines, comprising 20 males and five females aged between 19 and 48 years old).
Of the 25 accused, 24 obtained forged academic certificates from their home countries and used them to apply for work passes. The other accused person knew that a forged academic certificate was submitted on her behalf by an employment agent and intentionally failed to notify MOM. All the accused did not possess university degree qualifications and the forged academic certificates were knowingly used to mislead MOM into issuing them with the work passes.
Based on the information declared, the 25 accused were issued with work passes to perform work in operations, sales and retail. Among them were also chefs, a hairstylist and a dance choreographer.
MOM's investigations into the 25 cases commenced after the ministry had verified with the institutions issuing the certificates that they were forged. The work pass holders were less than one year into their employment here when they were arrested and investigated in May 2013.
At the conclusion of the investigations, MOM brought the 25 foreign nationals to court and charged them under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act for furnishing false information and for intentionally omitting to furnish information to the Controller of Work Passes.
All 25 accused pleaded guilty to the charges on 16 July 2013. Of the 25, 20 were sentenced to four weeks' imprisonment. The remaining five accused were fined $5,000 or in default to 20 days' imprisonment. As these five accused were unable to pay up their fines, they would be serving the default sentence.
In 2012, MOM successfully prosecuted 43 offenders for similar offences. In the first half of 2013, a total of 28 offenders were convicted. The majority of these offenders were jailed for up to four weeks by the Court.
Responsibility of Foreign Workers to Make Truthful Declarations
It is the responsibility of all applicants to make accurate, complete and truthful declarations to the Controller of Work Passes. Making a false declaration to the Controller through the fraudulent submission of forged academic certificates to by-pass work pass eligibility criteria is a deliberate attempt to mislead the Controller.
Applicants are warned not to fabricate and submit forged documents as there are stringent checks by MOM to detect and enforce against such false applications. MOM will not condone such acts of false declaration, and will take severe actions against offenders.
Members of the public who have information of persons or employers who contravene the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act should report the matter to MOM at Tel: (65) 6438 5122 or email email@example.com. All information will be kept strictly confidential.