22 Indian nationals charged for false declaration of salaries

TWENTY-two Indian nationals have been charged by the Manpower Ministry (MOM) for providing false salary information to apply for their work passes.

Applicants of Employment Passes and S Passes must meet minimum salary requirements.

But the workers declared they will be paid monthly salaries of between $2,400 and $4,550 despite knowing that they would be paid less, said MOM in a statement on Wednesday.

They were employed by four firms: Vina Trading, Manthra Enterprises, Magnaton Ventures and Nalla Traders. All four companies are franchisees of local convenience chain store 7-Eleven.

Of the 22 workers, 15 had worked less than a year in Singapore.

The 10 workers from Vina Trading pleaded guilty to the charges on Tuesday. Investigations showed they had received the declared salaries through their GIRO accounts. However, they withdrew cash ranging from $600 to $3,350 - the difference between their declared and actual salaries - and refunded it to their boss.

They have been jailed five or seven weeks as they were not able to pay their fines of between $5,000 and $7,000. They also have been barred from working in Singapore.

For the remaining 12 workers, 11 applied for an adjournment for their cases to be heard in court on Feb 25 and March 18. The last worker has claimed trial and his case will be heard on Feb 28.

MOM said it will be taking action against the employers and employment agents involved.