Polo coach jailed for lying in citizenship application
S'pore's 'highest ranked player' Abdul Sattar Khan submitted forged school certificate
He was the deputy coach for the national polo team in the 2007 and 2017 SEA Games, said his lawyer, who claimed he was Singapore's highest ranked player.
Turning professional when he was just 17, Abdul Sattar Khan was offered a job by the Singapore Polo Club in 1994 after impressing as a guest umpire and player.
But when the Pakistan-born Khan applied to become a Singapore permanent resident (PR) in 2006, he gave false information to the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA).
He did the same two years later when applying for his citizenship, which was issued on July 31, 2009.
Yesterday, Khan was sentenced to two weeks' jail after pleading guilty to offences under the Third Schedule of the Constitution of the Republic of Singapore and under the Immigration Act.
Court documents said Khan's permanent residency would not have been granted if not for the false information.
ICA told The New Paper that Khan and his family's statuses will be reviewed.
Khan's wife and two daughters became PRs the same time as him, and his son, who has completed national service, became a Singaporean in 2010.
A spokesman said the ICA takes a serious view of persons who provide false information or conceal material facts during their applications for any Singapore immigration facility.
Offenders will be dealt with firmly in accordance with the law, she added.
When asked, she said ICA was unable to share how Khan's case was discovered.
The court heard he took up employment at the Singapore Polo Club in 1995 and became a polo manager six years later. He first applied to become a PR in 2000 and lied that he attended Garden East School in Pakistan for his secondary school education.
After being rejected, Khan tried again on April 6, 2006, this time falsely stating that he attended Ibrahim Ali Bhai Secondary School and submitting a forged certificate and results.Khan actually attended a village school called Government Elementally School Boti Mianwali.
His PR status was granted and he applied to become a citizen on Sept 9, 2008, submitting a copy of the same forged documents.
Defence lawyer Thomas Sim said Khan's rural school did not award him a formal certificate when he completed his studies.Khan, who has a secondary school education, got his father in Pakistan to help, and the latter engaged local agents to get the bogus certificates.
Mr Sim said Khan wanted to fulfil what he mistakenly thought was a "formality" and did not misrepresent his qualification level.
Citing Khan's sporting contribution, social and charity work and testimonials of character, Mr Sim urged District Judge Mathew Joseph to impose a fine, or no more than two weeks' jail.
Judge Joseph noted Khan's "immense" contributions but said the sentence had to reflect the compelling public interest in maintaining the integrity of the ICA's immigration system.
He added: "You cannot run away from what you did."
Khan is out on bail and will start serving his sentence next Tuesday.