Two men and their company first to be convicted over offences under Foreign Employee Dormitories Act

Labourtel, its director Parvis Ahmed Mohamed Ghouse (left), and one of its officers, Shaik Mohamed Mohamed Abdul Jaleel, pleaded guilty to offences under the Foreign Employee Dormitories Act. ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

SINGAPORE - Two men and the company they work for have become the first to be convicted under the Foreign Employee Dormitories Act after the authorities inspected four facilities run by the firm and found that some rooms were filthy.

During the inspections in 2018 and last year, two of the dormitories were also found to have problems including damaged lights, faulty lockers and a damaged toilet bowl.

The four dormitories are run by Labourtel Management Corporation, which is part of property and logistics solutions company MES Group.

Labourtel, its director Parvis Ahmed Mohamed Ghouse, 43, and one of its officers, Shaik Mohamed Mohamed Abdul Jaleel, 34, pleaded guilty to offences under the Act on Thursday (March 5). The Act took effect in January 2016.

Two of the company's facilities, Jurong Penjuru Dormitory 1 and 2, are located in Penjuru Place near West Coast Road.

The other two are Blue Stars Dormitory in Kian Teck Lane near Boon Lay Way, and The Leo in Kaki Bukit Road 3.

Labourtel, which was convicted of seven charges, had failed to fully comply with licensing conditions and improve the dormitories despite being advised by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) after earlier inspections.

As part of the conditions, the licensee must maintain cleanliness at the dormitories. It must also keep the interior and exterior of all buildings - such as doors, windows and sanitary appliances - in good condition.

Jurong Penjuru Dormitory 1 was inspected in May 2018, and 27 rooms were found to be filthy with greasy cooking areas, among other issues.

Similar problems were also found at the three other dormitories in other inspections later in 2018 and last year.

Parvis was convicted of four charges under the Act. His role was to oversee the daily operations of Jurong Penjuru Dormitory 1 and 2 as well as the Blue Stars Dormitory.

He was also responsible for the manpower, security, cleaning, maintenance and equipment procurement for all three facilities.

On Thursday, the court heard that he had neglected his duties to rectify the non-compliance of the licensing conditions.

Shaik, whose role was to take charge of the signing of tenancy agreements between Labourtel and the various employers of the foreign workers staying at Jurong Penjuru Dormitory 1, pleaded guilty on Thursday to one charge under the Act.

He had breached the licensing conditions on the permitted number of occupants in the dormitory.

The court heard that during an inspection on May 31, 2018, officers from the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) found that two parts of the dormitory had more people than allowed.

For instance, the fifth level of Block 56 allowed 252 occupants. However, the number of contracted tenants there, based on tenancy agreements, was 268. The SCDF also found 304 beds there.

The two men and Labourtel will be sentenced on April 14.

The company can be fined for up to $50,000 for each charge.

For each charge, the men can be jailed for up to a year and fined up to $50,000.

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