Charged over false declarations of pay

Parmjit Kaur, former chief operating officer of bar and dining chain Harry's International, was taken to court by the Ministry of Manpower.
Parmjit Kaur, former chief operating officer of bar and dining chain Harry's International (above), was taken to court by the Ministry of Manpower.ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG
Parmjit Kaur, former chief operating officer of bar and dining chain Harry's International, was taken to court by the Ministry of Manpower.
Parmjit Kaur (above), former chief operating officer of bar and dining chain Harry's International, was taken to court by the Ministry of Manpower.ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

Ex-COO of Harry's 'overstated foreign staff's wages in EP applications'

A former chief operating officer of Harry's International was charged yesterday with allegedly overstating the salaries of foreign employees in Employment Pass (EP) applications.

Parmjit Kaur, 48, who was taken to court by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), faces 20 counts of making false declarations of salary to the Controller of Work Passes from April to September 2013.

The Straits Times understands that Kaur is no longer with the bar and dining chain.

In a statement, the MOM said its investigations found that she had instructed her staff to declare the fixed monthly salaries for the foreign employees as $3,100, to meet the minimum requirement of $3,000 for EP applications at that time.

Kaur, a Singaporean, allegedly knew that the employees would be paid less than that.

If convicted under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act, she could be fined up to $20,000 and jailed for up to two years.

When contacted, a spokesman for Harry's said: "Since the decision is still before the court, we are unable to comment."

A total of 95 other employers are now under investigation for making false declarations regarding work pass applications for 241 foreigners, the MOM said.

It added that it has stepped up enforcement efforts after the raising of maximum penalties for false declaration in 2012.

Last year, the courts fined eight franchisees of convenience store chain 7-Eleven between $8,000 and $56,000 for making false declarations. Besides penalties imposed by the courts, businesses may also be permanently barred from hiring foreigners.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 13, 2015, with the headline 'Charged over false declarations of pay'. Print Edition | Subscribe