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Man in Singapore on tuition grant and MOE bond used forged documents to extend stay, gets jail

Although he had completed his three years' bond working at NUS, he lied to MOE that he had yet to, in order to extend his long-term visit pass.

File photo of the State Courts in Singapore (Photo: Jeremy Long)

SINGAPORE: A Malaysian who came to Singapore on a Ministry of Education (MOE) tuition grant for his undergraduate studies at the National University of Singapore (NUS) completed his studies and his three-year bond, but wanted to extend his stay. He used forged documents from NUS and MOE in order to get the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) to extend his long-term visit pass, but was foiled when MOE noticed irregularities.

Magendran Muniandy, 34, was jailed for 20 weeks on Thursday (Jun 1) for his crimes.

He had claimed trial but was convicted of three charges of using forged documents.

The court heard that Magendran was awarded a tuition grant by MOE in 2008 for a course in Science at NUS. He signed the MOE Tuition Grant Agreement, which required him to serve a bond with MOE upon completion of his undergraduate studies.

He was required to be employed in Singapore for three years.

Magendran obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in June 2011. He worked for the Life

Sciences Institute of NUS for three years - between August 2014 and August 2017.

He was given an employment pass that was terminated on Aug 18, 2017, the day his three-year bond ended.

After his employment pass was terminated, Magendran applied for and was given a long-term visit pass for a year. Based on ICA's records, the pass was issued to him in August 2017 and expired a year later.

In April 2018, Magendran sent an email to MOE asking for a copy of the agreement and a supporting letter from MOE so he could apply for an extension of his long-term visit pass, lying that he had not served his bond.

A senior executive responded to Magendran and asked about his employment history.

In his response, he claimed that he was hired by Proctor & Gamble and sent to Japan to work. He claimed that the plan was for him to work there for one-and-a-half years before returning to Singapore, but claimed that he had to work there for longer due to "organisational changes".

He then claimed that he quit his job in Japan and returned to Malaysia or Singapore to find employment, but discovered that his bond was "yet to be served".

"Therefore, I would like to take the initiative to serve my bond asap," wrote Magendran.

He later lied that he had worked as a research assistant with NUS for only two months in early 2018 - even though he had worked for NUS for three years and effectively completed his bond.

In his bid to extend his long-term visit pass, Magendran used three forged documents as genuine. This includes a "letter of support for extension of long-term visit pass" purportedly issued by MOE, which he gave to ICA.

He also presented an image to MOE which showed the date of issue and date of expiry of a visit pass purportedly issued by ICA. He also showed a letter of acknowledgement purportedly issued by NUS to MOE.

After receiving the forged NUS acknowledgement letter, MOE conducted internal checks on Magendran's employment history and realised that he had been given an employment pass with NUS for three years.

MOE contacted NUS, who confirmed the same and said the acknowledgement letter that

Magendran had provided to MOE was not from them.

The senior executive had missed the irregulaties in the date of issue and expiry in the image Magendran had submitted, but later took a closer look and realised the dates were off.

Because Magendran had already worked in Singapore for three years, MOE discharged him from the bond and informed ICA that MOE would be revoking the original MOE support letter.

ICA later filed a police report.

Magendran had contested the charges, claiming that he had not submitted the forged MOE support letter to ICA, nor the forged NUS acknowledgment letter to MOE.

He said he had submitted the image showing his visit pass to MOE but said he did not know the information was inaccurate.

He pointed the finger at the officers working for MOE and ICA, accusing them of concocting documents to incriminate him.

The penalties for using a forged document as genuine are a jail term of up to four years, a fine, or both.


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