SINGAPORE: A 37-year-old man was sentenced to jail on Friday (Jun 11) for harbouring an immigration offender and perverting the course of justice by asking another man to lie to immigration officials when questioned.
Paramasivam Seeman was jailed for 9 months and 2 weeks for his offences, said the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA).
The Indian national, had deceived a friend into signing a tenancy agreement as the main tenant of a unit at Rowell Road.
His friend, who did not live in the unit, was misled to think that the tenancy agreement was for another unit at Buffalo Road and signed the document without reading it.
Paramasivam then rented the place to his colleagues and collected rent from them to earn extra income, said ICA.
One of the tenants was Sri Lankan national Abdul Cadeer Naina, who had overstayed in Singapore for a period of 150 days after the expiry of his visit pass, ICA said.
Abdul Cadeer Naina did not offer to show any identification documents to Paramasivam when he sublet a bed space in the unit, said ICA.
Paramasivam also did not ask for any documents to verify if the man's stay in Singapore was valid, it added.
Abdul Cadeer Naina was arrested at the unit on Jun 30 last year, when ICA officers conducted their checks.
When the main tenant was interviewed by ICA offiers, he told them that Paramasivam had asked him to provide a false statement and coached him on how to respond to the officers' questions.
Instead, the main tenant "ignored Paramasivam’s request and provided a factual account of the events", ICA said.
The immigration authority said Paramasivam had not exercised due diligence by carrying out checks required by law before allowing Abdul Cadeer Naina to stay at the unit.
"He had committed an offence of harbouring immigration offenders with reckless disregard under the Immigration Act," ICA said.
For overstaying his visa, Abdul Cadeer Naina was sentenced in July last year to one months' jail and three strokes of the cane.
As for the main tenant, he was "administered with verbal advisories" after ICA determined that the unit was sublet by Paramasivam without his knowledge.
"The ICA takes a firm stance against any person who harbours immigration offenders," the authority said.
"Those who wish to rent their premises must exercise due diligence in checking the status of their prospective foreign tenants to ensure that their status in Singapore is legal."
They are required to conduct the three mandatory checks:
- Check the tenant’s original immigration/work pass;
- Cross check the particulars on his/her pass against the particulars on his/her
original passport; and
- Verify the validity of his/her pass by checking with the issuing authority.
Any person found guilty of recklessly - carrying out only one of the three checks - or knowingly harbouring overstayers and/or illegal immigrants could be jailed for six months to two years and fined up to S$6,000.
Anyone found guilty of negligently - carrying out only two of the three checks - harbouring overstayers and/or illegal immigrants could be jailed for up to 12 months, fined up to S$6,000, or both.