General

Axact degree case: SC summons all accused on Feb 9

Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar has summoned all the accused in the Axact fake degree case on February 9.
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.
Hearing the suo motu case on Wednesday, the chief justice asked Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Director General Bashir Memon, who had appeared in court, what the case is about as it is being highlighted again.
“The country’s name is being brought into disrepute,” the chief justice observed, adding that no one will be spared and everyone’s names will be placed on the Exit Control List.
The FIA chief informed the bench that Axact’s headquarter is located in Karachi, adding that the scandal first surfaced in May 2015 after the publication of an article in a foreign publication.
Memon stated that websites of 330 global universities were created from Karachi, adding that the numbers on the sites would be foreign but were received in Karachi.
Responding to the chief justice’s query about the status of cases against Axact, the FIA chief informed that the agency lodged four cases in total.
“In two cases, the suspects were exonerated, the decisions of which were challenged in the high courts,” Memon said, adding that one case is under way in Karachi while the one in Peshawar is yet to start.
Responding to the statement, the chief justice summoned the registrars of Islamabad and Sindh high courts at the next hearing.
‘Our heads hang in shame’
The chief justice had taken suo motu notice of the scandal on January 19.
The chief justice had 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.
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. In 2015, it sold more than 215,000 fake qualifications globally through approximately 350 fictitious high schools and universities, making $51m (£37.5m) that year alone.
Axact’s chief executive was arrested and an investigation launched by the Pakistani authorities after a New York Times expose in 2015. A senior manager of the company, Umair Hamid, was sentenced to 21 months in a US prison in August 2017 for his part in Axact’s fraud.