Charged with a total of 21 counts under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act (EFMA), 46-year-old Yuan Shungao, director of Yuan Chun Contractor, was convicted in the State Courts on 19 October 2017 and sentenced to six weeks' imprisonment for collecting kickbacks.
According to a press statement from the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), a ban from employing foreign workers has also been imposed on both Yuan and the company.
After some of the affected workers approached MOM for assistance in February 2017, investigations revealed that Yuan, in his capacity as a director of the company, received a monthly sum of S$200 each from two foreign workers between March and July 2016. He also deducted a monthly sum of S$150 each from another four workers between April and July 2016, as financial guarantee for their employment.
Threatening some workers that their work passes would not be renewed if they did not pay, the director collected kickbacks amounting to S$3,650 from six foreign workers, as a condition for their continued employment with the company.
Upon MOM’s intervention, the amount collected from the foreign workers were returned to them.
The collection of kickbacks as a condition or financial guarantee for employment is prohibited under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act (EFMA). Upon conviction, offenders face a fine of up to S$30,000 or imprisonment for up to two years, or both, per charge.
Commenting on the case, Kandhavel Periyasamy, director of employment inspectorate at MOM's foreign manpower management division said: "Demanding kickbacks from foreign workers and threatening to cancel their work pass if they fail to pay is a serious offence.
"We will take stern action against persons or companies, including barring them from applying for new work passes and renewing their existing work passes. Workers should come forward to MOM early, so that we can investigate the employer and also provide assistance to the workers."
Photo / 123RF