Between May and November 2013, Lim obtained work passes for 30 Chinese nationals who were said to be working for his firm, MNF Investments & Holdings.
MNF was in fact a shell company without any projects or contracts to its name. Lim had no intention of employing these workers and instead released them to find work elsewhere.
Lim claimed he was to gain at least S$30,000 from taking part in the scam. He never received this money.
Initially charged with 30 counts of obtaining work passes for foreigners for a non-existent business, he was later sentenced on five of these with the remaining 25 taken into consideration.
On Tuesday, he was jailed for 27 months, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said in a statement yesterday (17 April).
MOM said there was no evidence that the foreign workers had been complicit in the scam. As a result, it had not taken action against them. Instead, all 30 have been sent back to China.
Ministry investigations found that two of the Chinese nationals were made to pay $$8,000 each to apply for their work passes.
Lim could have been sentenced to at least six months in jail and fined up to $$6,000 for each offence. If convicted of six or more charges, he may have also been liable for a caning.
MOM has now permanently banned him from employing foreign workers.
“This is one of the more severe cases involving the setting up of a shell company,” Kevin Teoh, divisional director of MOM’s Foreign Manpower Management Division, said.
“The accused had not only blatantly disregarded the law, but also left 30 foreign workers in a vulnerable state. A strong deterrence is necessary. We will not hesitate to take stern actions against serious offences like this.”
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A company director, Lim Kien Peng, has been jailed for 27 months after it was discovered he brought in foreign workers to work for his non-existent construction business.