–Chief Justice Nisar says he will not spare anyone bringing disrepute to Pakistan
ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar has summoned all accused in the Axact fake degree case on February 9, adding that no one involved in this crime would be allowed to leave the country.
While hearing the suo motu case on Wednesday, the CJP said that this case brought immense disrepute to the country and that he will not spare anyone involved in this crime.
Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Director General Bashir Memon told the court that the Axact scandal first surfaced came to the surface in May 2015— after the publication of an article in a foreign publication.
He added that the websites of around 330 global universities were created from Karachi.
On January 19, the CJP had taken a suo motu notice of the Axact fake degree scandal and ordered the director general of the FIA to submit a detailed report on the matter within 10 days.
Taking notice of recent national and international headlines pertaining to the fake degree scam, the CJP said that no one who tarnishes Pakistan’s name would be allowed to go scot-free.
“Our heads are bowed in shame because of this scandal,” he said.
The CJP had said that if the news was true, then one should be prepared to deal with the scandal, but if the news is incorrect, then it is Pakistan’s job to defend itself as the scam is tarnishing the country’s name in the world. Nisar observed that the case had surfaced earlier and had been heard in various courts.
Axact first came into the limelight in 2015 when a New York Times report titled “Fake Diplomas, Real Cash: Pakistani Company Axact Reaps Millions” outlined how the “secretive Pakistani software company” had allegedly earned millions of dollars from scams involving fake degrees, non-existent online universities and manipulation of customers.
According to the report, Axact had created a series of fake websites involving “professors” and students who it said were in fact paid actors.
A fake degrees case against Axact was ongoing in the Sindh High Court. The last notable development was that Axact Chief Executive Officer Shoaib Sheikh and 13 co-accused were granted bail by the SHC in August 2016.
A district and sessions court hearing a money laundering case against Sheikh acquitted the Axact CEO not long after.
Umair Hamid, a vice president of Axact, was last year sentenced to 21 months in prison in the US for his role in the international diploma mill scheme. In addition to the prison term, Hamid, 31, from Karachi, was ordered to forfeit $5,303,020. He had pleaded guilty on April 6, 2017 to conspiracy to commit wire fraud.