Tuition centre principal accused of cheating Govt of over $126,000 in grants

SINGAPORE - The principal of a tuition centre was handed 11 charges on Thursday for allegedly cheating the Government of more than $126,000 in grants disbursed under the SGUnited Traineeships Programme (SGUT). 

Between October 2020 and June 2021, Gerard Lim Jian Rong, 36, allegedly submitted fraudulent claims under the SGUT for seven purported trainees.

He forged their signatures on training agreements and monthly development plans submitted to the Singapore Business Federation (SBF), which was appointed by Workforce Singapore to administer grant applications made under the SGUT.

Court documents said that he had submitted 63 fraudulent monthly development plans. On top of that, he also purportedly submitted a fraudulent Work Injury Compensation Insurance claim for $749.

Lim, the sole proprietor of Success.Nat Tutorial Centre, had also allegedly falsified monthly payslips to misrepresent to SBF that the purported trainees had received training and training allowances from the tuition centre.

The SGUT, which ceased on March 31, 2022, provided training with host organisations to fresh graduates from the Institute of Technical Education, polytechnics, universities and other educational institutions.

This was to help them develop industry-relevant skills and boost their employability during a weaker hiring climate due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Host organisations that took on trainees received government funding for the training allowance given to the trainees.

Lim, who was charged with eight counts of cheating, two counts of forgery for the purpose of cheating, and one count of falsification of accounts, is out on a $30,000 bail and will be back in court on March 9.

For each count of cheating, an offender can be jailed for up to 10 years and fined. For each count of forgery for the purpose of cheating, an offender faces the same punishment.

For falsification of accounts, an offender can be jailed for up to 10 years, fined or both.

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