A 43-year-old man has been sentenced to nine months' jail for 15 counts of making false declarations to the Controller of Work Passes today.
During the six-and-a-half day trial, the court heard that Patrick Boo Tuang Hock had made CPF contributions for five local persons who employed by BNR Cafe to inflate the cafe's entitlement for foreign workers.
These CPF payments were made as early as July 2008, even though the cafe did not start operations till five months later. Boo had personally prepared 15 work pass applications, and arranged for the registered Director of BNR Cafe, Lim Yen Geok to sign the work pass declaration. This states that Lim was aware that the cafe's CPF account(s) were used by MOM to determine its foreign worker entitlement.
Boo knew the statements were false as the five workers had never worked in his cafe. After Lim signed the forms, Boo arranged for the false declarations to be submitted to MOM.
Boo claimed trial when MOM brought charges against him in court. He said that he did not know it was wrong to hire "phantom workers", and claimed that he was acting under the instruction from business partner Lau Yew Leong, whom he said was the true owner of the cafe. However the court was told that Lau only invested money in the cafe and left business decisions, including recruitment, to Boo.
The judge found Boo guilty of making a false declaration knowingly when the application forms were submitted to the Controller of Work Passes. Boo has filed an appeal against the sentence.
Making a false declaration to the controller through manipulating their company's CPF accounts for the purpose of inflating their foreign workers entitlement is an offence. If found guilty, the offender faces up to 12 months' jail, or a fine not exceeding $15,000, or both for each application submitted.