Two workers convicted for making false work injury claims; one staged a fall down staircase

SINGAPORE - Two workers have been convicted for making fake work injury compensation claims, including one by an Indian national who rehearsed a planned fall down a flight of stairs.

Singh Arshdeep, who was employed by Enlighten Furniture in Loyang Way, had claimed that he injured his fingers, left shoulder, back and left knee after falling backwards down a flight of stairs while carrying a wooden box as part of his work duties, said the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) on Tuesday (March 23).

The incident happened on Aug 5, 2019.

While looking at footage from the company's closed-circuit television cameras (CCTV), MOM investigators found that Singh had rehearsed the fall before the supposed accident.

He then picked up the wooden box and waited for other workers to walk by.

"When other workers appeared in the vicinity, he slowly leaned backwards, threw the wooden box behind him and fell down the staircase," said MOM.

Further investigations revealed that he was never tasked to carry the wooden box involved in the accident.

He was convicted on March 10 and sentenced to four weeks' imprisonment for making a fraudulent claim and three weeks imprisonment for providing false information to an investigation officer from MOM. He will serve both sentences concurrently.

The second incident happened that same year on Aug 16 and involved Bangladeshi national Rohoman Md Shimul, who was employed by Kim Bock Contractor, a general contracting firm located in Bishan.

Rohoman's employer had filed a compensation claim for an injury to his right hand, which he said happened outside work hours at a meeting with his friend on July 18.

MOM told him that his accident claim could not be admitted, as it did not occur due to his employment.

Rohoman then filed another claim stating that the injury did occur at work.

Investigations by MOM showed that Rohoman's new account of the incident differed from the one that he had earlier given to two of his supervisors.

"Rohoman had told them separately on two occasions on July 18 that he had fallen and injured himself when meeting a friend outside of the worksite," said MOM.

He was convicted on Tuesday and sentenced to four weeks' jail for making a fraudulent claim under the Work Injury Compensation Act (Wica).

One charge of making a false statement to an investigation officer from MOM was also taken into account for his sentencing, said the ministry.

MOM said: "The Wica provides workers who are injured in work-related accidents with a low cost and expeditious alternative to common law to settle compensation claims. MOM takes all claims seriously.

"Making a fraudulent claim is not only an abuse of investigative resources, but also an objectionable act of deceit," it added.

Wica took effect in 2008 and was amended in 2019 to increase compensation limits and coverage.

Those convicted of making fraudulent claims for compensation can be fined up to $15,000 and/or jailed up to 12 months.

Those convicted of giving false information to an investigation officer may be fined up to $5,000 and/or jailed up to six months.