SINGAPORE: The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is learning if there is scope to amend existing laws to make it much easier to build fraud in instances wherever renovation functions are not carried out.
In response to a parliamentary concern by MP Murali Pillai (PAP-Bukit Batok) on renovation fraud, Minister for House Affairs and Regulation K Shanmugam stated in a prepared response on Monday (Jul 4) that the police investigated 100 instances involving errant renovation contractors between 2019 and 2021.
So much, 72 of these instances have been prosecuted in court, he reported, adding that the ministry is unable to give information of circumstances that occurred this yr as investigations are ongoing.
Mr Shanmugam explained that renovation fraud generally includes contractors finding victims to make payment for promised renovation will work, which are possibly partially accomplished or not carried out at all.
“In most of these circumstances, the contractors grow to be uncontactable immediately after collecting payment, or supply excuses to demonstrate why they ended up not able to entire the promised is effective,” he claimed.
Contractors who deceive victims into positioning deposits devoid of any intent to carry out renovation performs can be charged with cheating offences beneath area 420 of the Penal Code.
“In some situations there could be real company distress, and the contractor may perhaps not have been in a position to do the operate,” said Mr Shanmugam.
“More, the place the financial circumstance changes all of a sudden, for case in point through the COVID-19 pandemic, some contractors could uncover by themselves unable to fulfil their contracts.
“In each and every scenario, the problem is no matter if there was fraudulent intent. Some other situations may contain fraudulent intent, but it might be quite complicated to verify that in court.”
He has questioned MHA to review if there is scope to amend the law to make it a lot easier to establish fraud in these situations, said Mr Shanmugam.
The minister included that it can be difficult to get well the income missing in such cons, even if the culprit goes to jail, as they may no for a longer period have the income.
He advised owners to interact contractors with a fantastic keep track of history, these types of as individuals accredited underneath the joint accreditation concerning the Purchaser Affiliation of Singapore (Case) and Singapore Renovation Contractors.