By Raza Ruman
Noose is tightened around the neck of Axact CEO and owner of BOL media group, Shoaib Ahmad Shaikh, as the Federal Investigation Agency got trove of information during a raid in Karachi Axact office.
Thirty two employees of Axact have been arrested during the FIA raids in Karachi and Rawalpindi. The FIA cyber crime unit entered IT company Axact’s Islamabad and Karachi offices on Tuesday and collected manuals, records and computers as evidence in the ongoing investigation of a global fake degrees scam.’
TV reports quoted FIA Deputy Director Tahir Tanveer as saying that the Axact offices in twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi have been sealed and that around 22 employees of the IT company were taken into custody by the Islamabad investigating team.
FIA officers swooped on the Karachi headquarters of the company, seizing equipment and records and expelling employees from the building.
Earlier, action against Axact kicked off after Federal Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan ordered an inquiry into astory published by The New York Times that claimed the company was issuing fake degrees as part of a massive, global scam.
An interior ministry spokesman said Nisar had directed the FIA to submit a report after a thorough investigation.
The minister in his directive also said that the FIA was to determine whether the contents of the NYT story were true and whether the company was involved in any illegal business which may bring a “bad name” to Pakistan.
FIA corporate crime circle has issued notice to summon Axact’s chief Shoaib Ahmed Shaikh on Thursday.
They have also asked the company authorities to present their registration certificate, tax return details and the details of degrees issued so far, it added.
The detailed NYT report titled “Fake Diplomas, Real Cash: Pakistani Company Axact Reaps Millions” and written by New York Times Pakistan bureau chief Declan Walsh outlined how Axact — referred to as a “secretive Pakistani software company” — allegedly earned millions of dollars from scams involving fake degrees, non-existent online universities and manipulation of customers.
According to the report, Axact created a series of fake websites involving “professors” and students who it said were in fact paid actors.
The allegations raised by the newspaper if proven true would be punishable by seven years in prison under Pakistan’s Electronic Transaction Ordinance.
It will be interesting to see how Axact and BOL owner survives this blow, which seems very difficult at the moment. Pak Destiny