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Three foreign workers jailed over false injury claims

SINGAPORE — Three foreign workers have been sentenced to between four and six weeks’ jail each for making fraudulent claims under the Work Injury Compensation Act (WICA).

SINGAPORE — Three foreign workers have been sentenced to between four and six weeks’ jail each for making fraudulent claims under the Work Injury Compensation Act (WICA).

Khan Momen, Govindan Raja and Billal Hossain Kader Molla had made claims that they were injured in accidents during the course of work and sought compensation from their employers under WICA between April and July last year.

But investigations by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) assessing the eligibility of the claims revealed that they had lied about the accidents.

Khan, a Bangladeshi national, filed for a work injury compensation claim on July 31 last year for having injured his right forearm after falling at a construction site in April last year. After further investigations, it was found that he suffered the injury during a fight with another worker.

Khan faced two charges by the MOM of furnishing false information under WICA (Chapter 354) and was last month sentenced to four weeks’ jail.

On April 22 last year, Indian national Govindan filed a claim for a right shoulder injury he said he had sustained after falling from a height while working on Dec 23, 2012. However, the MOM found his claims to be false after witnesses testified that he was not working that day.

Govindan pleaded guilty last month to making a fraudulent claim and was sentenced to six weeks in jail. Two other offences of furnishing false statements were taken into consideration.

Billal, a Bangladeshi national, had made a work injury claim on July 3 last year for having injured his back while carrying heavy pipes with a co-worker at his employer’s workshop. Accounts from witnesses revealed that Billal was not present on the day of the incident. He was charged by the MOM with making fraudulent claims and sentenced to a four-week jail term in July this year.

The ministry has seen an average of two fraudulent claims cases over the past four years.

WICA provides employees injured in work-related accidents with a low-cost, faster alternative to claiming damages under common law. Fraudulent claims are considered a serious violation of the Act.

Mr Woon Cheng Peng, deputy director of the ministry’s Work Injury Compensation Department, said: “The MOM will not hesitate to take tough action against fraudulent claimants who abuse the system for their own gains.” The MOM seeks to protect employee rights and will take firm action against errant employers “who failed to fulfil their WICA obligations”, he added.

Four workers have been convicted for fraudulent WICA claims since January this year. Robin Choo

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