SINGAPORE - A Ministry of Manpower (MOM) accredited training provider created workplace safety and health-related certificates and sold them to foreigners who did not attend the required training.
Md Abu Zahin Mostafizur Rahman, 36, a director of Pioneer Skill Training Centre, admitted to five counts of forging the Building Construction Supervisors Safety Course (BCSS) certificates of successful completion for the foreigners in October and November 2015.
He was sentenced to 10 months' jail on Friday (Sept 15).
The Bangladesh-born Abu, who is a Singapore permanent resident, had nine other charges, including five for making false entries, taken into consideration during sentencing.
The purpose of the BCSS, the court heard, is to provide people who carry out work in a worksite with the adequate safety and health training.
An employer should not allow any person who has not completed the course or its equivalent to oversee or supervise any work at a worksite.
Pioneer Skill, which was accredited to conduct the course from May 2015 to May 2017, had to ensure, among other things, that the trainers had the necessary qualifications and were approved by MOM.
The recommended course duration was 34 hours, and a participant had to obtain a minimum 65 per cent pass grade in a two-hour written test and at least one skill-based assessment to complete the course.
MOM prosecutor A. M. Mohamed Riasudeen said more than 200 "suspicious" certificates and passes were found when MOM officers raided Pioneer Skill's premises in Soon Lee Street on Dec 7, 2015.
Abu admitted that those certificates were fake, as the foreigners named did not attend any course as specified. He had forged the certificates to sell to the foreigners for money.
Investigations showed that some time after Oct 7, 2015, when Abu registered himself as the director of Pioneer Skills, he decided to sell BCSS certificates to foreigners who wanted them without having to attend any training.
He collaborated with unknown persons to reach out to such foreigners from various companies to sell the fake certificates for profit.
These were issued to the foreigners through the unknown middlemen, who received between $160 and $800. Abu admitted that he received between $80 and $90 for each certificate that he sold.
Pleading for leniency, Abu's lawyer Rajan Supramaniam said his client, who is married to a Singaporean and has two young children, had shown genuine remorse, shame and regret for the offences.
He was determined to turn over a new leaf, the lawyer added.
Abu could have been fined up to $5,000 and/or jailed for up to six months for each charge under the Workplace Safety and Health Act.