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Foreign Employee Jailed for Making a False Work Injury Compensation Claim

  1. In the State Courts yesterday, Rahman FR Mostafizur (“Rahman”), a Bangladeshi national, pleaded guilty to a charge under s 35(2)(f) for fraudulently making a claim under the Work Injury Compensation Act (Chapter 354) (“WICA”). He was convicted and sentenced to eight weeks’ jail for the offence. The second charge under s 35(2)(c) of the WICA for making a false statement to an Investigation Officer was taken into consideration for the purposes of sentencing. Additionally, Rahman was sentenced to three weeks’ jail for overstaying in Singapore, an offence under s15(1) of the Immigration Act.

    Facts of the Case

  2. On 12 February 2014, Rahman, a Marine Trades worker, filed a Work Injury Compensation (WIC) claim against his employer for alleged injuries to his left little finger. He claimed that part of it was severed while he was operating a band saw machine during work and that he informed his supervisor of the accident. 
  3. MOM’s investigation revealed that Rahman’s claim was fraudulent as the alleged accident did not take place and Rahman did not suffer any injury at work. Contrary to Rahman's claims, investigation showed that Rahman’s hand was not injured when he left the worksite and none of the supervisors or co-workers working in close proximity to him were aware of the alleged accident.  
  4. Rahman did not admit to making a fraudulent claim despite being given ample opportunity to do so. MOM proceeded to prosecute Rahman for knowingly making a fraudulent claim under the WICA and for furnishing false information to the MOM investigation officer.  A Warrant of Arrest was issued against him when he failed to appear in court for the First Mention on 8 October 2015. He was subsequently arrested by the Police on 28 November 2015 and charged by the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority for overstaying. 
  5. Rahman is the first worker this year to be prosecuted for committing offences under the WICA. Three foreign workers were prosecuted for similar offences in 2015. For more details of these three cases, please refer to the Annex

    Upholding the integrity of WICA

  6. The WICA is a no-fault system that provides workers who are injured in work-related accident with a low-cost and expeditious alternative to common law to settle compensation claims. Making a fraudulent WIC claim is a serious act of deceit.
  7. Ms Kee Ee Wah, Director of MOM’s Work Injury Compensation Department, said, "MOM takes a very serious view of fraudulent claims. In instances when the veracity of claims are suspicious and questionable, MOM will conduct investigations into the claims. Such investigations and subsequent prosecution actions take up considerable time and resources, which could have been better spent on assisting genuine claimants. MOM will not hesitate to take tough action against fraudulent claimants who try to abuse the system for their own gains.”
  8. Under the WICA, those convicted of making fraudulent claims may be fined up to $15,000 and/or jailed up to 12 months, while those convicted of furnishing false information may be fined up to $5,000 and/or jailed up to six months. 


    Annex

    Case 1

    Summary of Investigation Findings:

    On 18 June 2014, Talukder Juel (“Takluder”), a Bangladeshi national, filed a WIC claim. He claimed that on 6 June 2014, he accidentally cut his right thumb and index finger while he was operating a cutting machine at work. MOM’s investigations revealed that he had deliberately placed his thumb and right index finger into the machine and the injuries were self-inflicted. 

    Prosecution Action:

    MOM charged Takluder under the WICA for one charge of making a fraudulent claim. On 13 August 2015, he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to four weeks’ imprisonment.

    Case 2

    Summary of Investigation Findings:

    On 15 July 2014, Mohammad Sohel Abul Hossain Bepari (“Sohel”), a Bangladeshi national, filed a WIC claim. Sohel claimed that he slipped and fell at work on 8 May 2014, and injured his head, back and left little finger. He identified one co-worker as having witnessed his fall and another co-worker as having helped him immediately after his accident. During MOM’s investigations, neither of Sohel’s witnesses corroborated his account and or was aware that Sohel fell at work.

    Prosecution Action:

    MOM charged Sohel under the WICA for one charge of furnishing false information to an MOM investigation officer. Sohel claimed trial. On 15 October 2015, Sohel was found guilty as charged and sentenced to three weeks’ imprisonment.

    Case 3

    Summary of Investigation Findings:

    On 13 March 2014, Nadim Billal Sarker (“Nadim”), a Bangladeshi national, filed a WIC claim. Nadim claimed that he slipped and fell down a ladder at work on 12 February 2014, and injured his head, left shoulder, back, left knee and suffered hearing loss in his left ear. He identified two co-workers as having witnessed his fall. During MOM’s investigations, neither of Nadim’s witnesses corroborated his account.

    Prosecution Action:

    MOM charged Nadim under the WICA for one charge of furnishing false information to an MOM investigation officer. Nadim claimed trial but subsequently pleaded guilty to the charge on 22 December 2015. He was sentenced on 23 December 2015 to two weeks’ imprisonment.