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Training centre head sentenced to 10 months’ imprisonment for certificate fraud

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Abduljafar s/o Abdulkuthose, principal of Vsafe Training Consultant, was sentenced to 10 months’ imprisonment on 1 November 2018. He was charged with fraudulently issuing 17 Building Construction Supervisor Safety (BCSS) course certificates and safety passes between January 2016 and March 2016 without conducting any lessons or assessments.

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) had, in 2016, cancelled all the fraudulent BCSS records uploaded on MOM’s Training Records System by Vsafe.

Two directors and a trainer from three other workplace safety and health (WSH) training providers had previously been sentenced to 10 months’ imprisonment each under the WSH Act for forging certificates and safety passes, that is, Sellachamy Somasundaran, director of Maha Safety Training Centre, Md Abu Zahin Mostafizur, director of Pioneer Skill Training Centre, and Ramanathan Thamilselvan, a trainer with Work Safe Consultants.

BCSS is a compulsory training course for workers assigned as supervisors in the construction industry. Under the law, an employer or the principal should not allow any person to carry out oversight or supervisory work in a worksite unless they have received adequate safety and health training to do so.

Since 1 May 2017, the BCSS has migrated to the SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG)’s WSQ framework. The course has been renamed “Supervise Construction Work in Workplace Safety and Health”.

MOM’s investigations

Vsafe was accredited by MOM under the then Accredited Training Provider Scheme to conduct the BCSS course from 4 November 2015 to 4 November 2017 at two premises.

On 3 March 2016, MOM received information that Vsafe was involved in certificate milling activities. Investigations revealed that Vsafe had an unusually high volume of BCSS records uploaded on MOM’s Training Records System between January and March 2016.

Investigations revealed that sometime between January 2016 and March 2016, Abduljafar decided to sell BCSS certificates and safety passes to workers.

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Apart from walk-ins by interested workers, Abduljafar also colluded with agents to reach out to workers interested in purchasing the certificates and safety passes. The workers each paid between S$200 and S$700 through these agents.

Investigations revealed that no BCSS courses were conducted by Vsafe between January and March 2016, apart from two sessions conducted in February 2016 for Korean participants.

Sebastian Tan, director of MOM’s occupational safety and health inspectorate said, “The workers who obtained these fraudulent certificates and passes were clearly not equipped to manage WSH issues nor implement the necessary risk control measures on-site. Their employers too had been misled into thinking that their workers were being supervised by competent supervisors.

“By selling fraudulent certificates and passes, the training provider knowingly undermined the WSH training regime and put workers’ lives at risk. MOM takes a serious view of this and will press for custodial sentences against such perpetrators.”

Photo / StockUnlimited

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