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Axact degree scandal: Apex court orders to put Shoaib Sheikh, other suspects on ECL

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court of Pakistan ordered to place the name of Shoaib Ahmed Sheikh, CEO of Axact on the exit control list (ECL), the court ordered on Friday while hearing the fake degree scandal.

Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, headed the two member bench, issued the orders while resuming hearing of a suo moto case of Axact fake degree scandal. Supreme Court also ordered to put the names of six other accused on the Exit Control List (ECL).

Earlier, on Jan 19, the chief justice took suo motu notice of the Axact fake degree scandal and sought a report from the Federal Investigation Agency within 10 days.

The chief justice had remarked that those who caused defamation of Pakistan in the world will have to face punishment, adding that news reports regarding fake degree scandal rife in local and international media.

During the hearing the Chief Justice remarked that our heads hanged in shame because of this scandal and also observed that the case had surfaced earlier and several cases in this regard are being heard by courts.

The fake degrees scandal was first disclosed by New York Time in 2015 and accused a Pakistan-based company, Axact of selling degrees of hundreds of fake universities and schools run by the software company.

The expose was followed by a crackdown by Pakistani authorities but no one has been prosecuted as yet within the country.

Moreover, Umair Ahmad, vice president of Axact, was arrested in the US last year and was sent to prison for 21 months after he confessed to committing wire fraud in connection with an international “diploma mill” scheme. In addition to the prison term, Hamid was ordered to forfeit $5,303,020.

Following a news story in New York Times, CEO Shoaib Ahmed Shaikh, managers Viqas Atique, Zeeshan Anwar, Mohammad Sabir and Zeeshan Ahmed and 14 other officials/employees of the software firm were booked in May 2015 for allegedly preparing and selling fake degrees, diplomas and accreditation certificates of fictitious schools/universities through a deceptive online system and illegally making millions of dollars.

The company earned more than $205 million in the process.

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