Axact CEO Shoaib Shaikh shifted to Adiala jail

  • Shaikh’s aide Nigel Brian’s bid to escape to Qatar foiled at Islamabad airport


ISLAMABAD: Axact CEO Shoaib Shaikh was shifted to Adiala jail in Rawalpindi on Wednesday following his arrest in the fake degrees case, while a close aide of the convict was arrested from the Islamabad airport when he was trying to flee from the country.

It was reported that Nigel Brian Rabello was fleeing to Qatar through a private airline when the officers at the immigration counter noticed that his passport was blacklisted. The suspect was handed in the custody of the Anti-Human Trafficking and Smuggling Cell.

The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has been making efforts to arrest Nigel in two cases, including the Axact fake degrees case.

Shaikh, along with 22 others involved in the fake degree scandal that rocked the country in May 2015 was sentenced to 20 years in prison with a fine of Rs1.3 million each by a district and sessions court earlier in July this year. The Axact CEO and others were sentenced to three years each under sections 419 and 420 of the Pakistan Penal Code. They were also sentenced to 7 years each under sections 468 and 471, and fined Rs1 million each.

The trial court judge had earlier acquitted the Axact CEO and other accused after receiving Rs5 million in bribe. The FIA filed an appeal with the Islamabad High Court (IHC) against the trial court’s order, which was accepted.

The Axact fake degree scandal came to the spotlight when The New York Times published an article, claiming Axact sold fake degrees online through hundreds of fake schools.

The offices of the company were sealed and its CEO and senior officials were arrested after the issue surfaced.

Umair Hamid, a senior manager of the company, was sentenced to 21 months in a US prison in August 2017 for his part in Axact’s fraudulent activities.

According to the US Department of Justice, Hamid was involved in running a “massive diploma mill” through Axact, which tricked people into enrolling in fictitious universities and colleges.