55-year-old Singaporean Ng Boon Cheng, the managing director of Lian Lee Wooden Case Maker Co, has been charged by Singapore's Ministry of Manpower (MOM) in the State Courts, with 20 counts of collecting kickbacks.
The kickbacks are understood to be amounting to $105,235, taken from 20 of his foreign workers, as a condition for their continued employment with the company. MOM has recovered and returned the monies to all the affected foreign workers.
The accused was charged in Court today with 20 counts under section 22A(1)(b) read with section 20(1)(a) of the EFMA. The case has been adjourned to 8 November 2016 in Court 23 at 9.30 am.
The charges came to light when investigations revealed that between January 2011 and October 2015, Ng allegedly consented to the company to deduct various amounts from the salaries payable to 20 foreign workers for their continued employment with the company.
The collection of kickbacks or other benefits, as a condition or financial guarantee for employment, is prohibited under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act (EFMA).
If convicted, Ng is liable to a fine of up to $30,000 or to imprisonment for up to two years or to both per offence. MOM may also impose a permanent ban on the offender from employing foreign workers.
MOM takes a tough stance against employers who collect kickbacks. In April 2015, Sheng Jianzhong, the MD of Sheng Yu Construction Builders, was fined $169,000 in default three months’ imprisonment for receiving kickbacks from foreign workers.
In August 2015, Lim Leong Chye, the owner of a night club was convicted and sentenced to four months’ imprisonment and fined $35,000 for collecting kickbacks.
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