Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar took a suo motu notice of the Axact fake degree scandal on Friday and sought report from DG FIA.
Axact claims to be the “world’s largest IT company” and operates hundreds of fake online universities run by agents from a Karachi-based call centre.
The chief justice summoned a report from the director general (DG) of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) in 10 days.
The chief justice remarked, “our heads hang in shame due to the scandal,” adding that those bringing a bad name to Pakistan will not be allowed to go scot-free.
News reports regarding the fake degree scandal are doing the rounds in local and international media and bringing a bad name to the country, the chief justice remarked.
The chief justice observed that if the news reports regarding the scandal are correct, the activity should be curbed and if otherwise, then Pakistan should defend its image.
Axact first came into the limelight in 2015 when the 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.
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.
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 date of hearing the case was then directed to be fixed.—INP