Employer jailed for planting gold pendant in maid's luggage and accusing her of stealing

Desai Asti Amit was arrested after she had pleaded guilty to giving false information to the police that her gold pendant was stolen by Indian national Kimei Dangmei.
Desai Asti Amit was arrested after she had pleaded guilty to giving false information to the police that her gold pendant was stolen by Indian national Kimei Dangmei.PHOTO: ST GRAPHICS

SINGAPORE - A pre-school teacher who lied that her domestic worker had stolen her gold pendant when she had planted the item in her luggage was jailed for seven weeks on Thursday (March 10).

Desai Asti Amit, 37, an Indian national, had pleaded guilty to giving false information to the police that her gold pendant was stolen by Indian national Kimei Dangmei, causing her to be arrested.

The offence took place at a maid agency at Block 11, Sin Ming Road, on Aug 22 last year.

Deputy Public Prosecutor James Low said Desai had not been happy with Madam Kimei's work performance and purported poor attitude since the latter started work in April at her flat in Tampines the same year.

"The accused was angry with Kimei and wanted to get even with her," said DPP Low.

The court heard that sometime at the end of July, Madam Kimei said she was homesick and wanted to return home, but Desai and her husband persuaded her to stay.

The following month, Madam Kimei again requested to return to India but this time, she had her luggage packed.

Desai got angry with her and did not allow her to leave.

On Aug 20, Desai returned home from work to find that Madam Kimei was out accompanying her (Desai's) son at the playground. She decided to take the opportunity to plant a gold pendant and a metal prayer cup in Madam Kimei's luggage so that the maid would be caught red-handed for theft.

The next day, Madam Kimei decided to run away from the flat in Tampines, bringing along a small bag with her wallet, mobile phone and passport. She left her luggage in the flat.

Madam Kimei sought refuge in a welfare organisation before she was taken to the maid agency on Aug 22.

When the couple appeared at the agency with Madam Kimei's luggage, it was opened for inspection. The gold pendant fell out from between some clothing, and the metal prayer cup was also found. Desai's husband called the police.

Desai told the police that Madam Kimei had stolen the pendant and suspected her of having stolen a diamond pendant as well.

Madam Kimei was arrested and remanded in the police station lockup for a day before being released on police bail.

On Sept 7, Desai was giving a further statement to the police when she came clean and admitted that she had framed Madam Kimei, who has since returned home.

Defence lawyer Louis Joseph said his client immediately felt her conscience pricked her after lodging the police report and when the maid was arrested. The same day, she and her husband went to a police station to see if the report could be withdrawn but were unable to do so.

Mr Joseph said Desai was truly remorseful and had offered to compensate the victim for her suffering.

The lawyer later told reporters that he had instructions to appeal.

The maximum punishment for giving false information to a public servant is a year's jail and a $5,000 fine.