Director of construction firm jailed for purchasing forged training certificates

Director of construction firm jailed for purchasing forged training certificates

Singapore — The director of a construction company has been sentenced to three weeks’ jail for paying for forged training certificates, according to a statement released on Monday (3 Apr) by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM).

Ko Woei Hin, a director at Wang Sheng Design & Build, was sentenced last Thursday for the offences that were committed about seven years ago. Wang Sheng provided safety supervisors for construction projects undertaken by other firms in the industry.

In April 2016, Ko was informed by one of his foreign employees that they knew how to obtain forged Building Construction Safety Supervisor Course certificates (BCSS), MOM said.

“This would mean that the foreign employees need not attend any formal training and assessment,” the ministry added.

Ko then tasked the employee with obtaining two such certificates, at a cost of S$500 (US$375) per certificate. The forged certificates were purportedly issued by AMI Consulting, an accredited training provider.

“AMI entered the false BCSS records into MOM’s training record system to indicate that Ko’s foreign employees had attended the BCSS course,” the ministry said.

“On the basis of these false records, the foreign employees’ work permits were allowed to continue.”

MOM uncovered the forged certificates and false records in June 2016 during its routine surveillance of training providers.

Ko’s actions were not only illegal but also seriously undermined workplace safety, the ministry said.

“There must always be properly trained and qualified supervisors to ensure that workplaces and workers are safe,” it added.

“An unqualified safety supervisor would not fully understand the safety measures that ought to be undertaken when carrying out various tasks at worksites. This would put many lives at risk of serious injury or worse, death.”

Since 2021, 15 people have been jailed under Section 53 of the Workplace Safety and Health Act for possessing forged certificates, the ministry said.

It added that it will not hesitate to take strong action against individuals and companies who wilfully compromise workplace safety and health or circumvent its work pass framework.

“All workers, employers and training providers must play their part to uphold high standards of integrity and ensure works are only performed by trained and qualified personnel,” MOM said.

The serious problem of forged safety certificates in Singapore has been ongoing for years.

Trading of fake certificates behind Serangoon Plaza in 2016

TOC reported in 2016 that Mr Tan, who runs a training centre specializing in Working-At-Height safety training, lodged ten police reports regarding the circulation and selling of fake safety certificates in the market.

Mr Tan discovered that the false certificates had different formats when compared to the genuine ones, and that the particulars reflected on the fake certificates were the workers’ work permit numbers when it should have been their FIN/NRIC number instead.

Furthermore, all certificates issued by the centre are hand-signed and not a scanned copy of the signatures.

Despite providing evidence and leads to the police, Mr Tan was dissatisfied with the police’s handling of the case, which he felt did not directly discover the people involved in falsely and illegally replicating his company’s certificates and stamps.

He also raised concerns that the government could be subsidizing fake certificates under the Productivity and Innovation Credit Scheme without knowing.

“The selling of fake certificates is still ongoing, as he has received a few more fake certificates where the course dates indicated are as recent as July 2016,”

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