Axact Scandal: CEO appears before Sindh High Court
KARACHI: Axact Chief Executive Officer Shoaib Sheikh appeared on Monday before Sindh High Court (SHC) for allegedly selling fake academic degrees internationally, media reported.
The company, that has pledged to build a media empire, faced tough criticism after The New York Times said it was earning tens of millions of dollars by selling fake degrees.
Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar had taken notice of the NYT report which claimed that Axact ran a fake education empire that involved paid actors promoting fictitious universities and even fake State Department authentication certifications bearing the signature of John Kerry.
The report, which quoted former employees and analysed more than 370 websites of fake universities, accreditation bodies and other purported institutions, sparked a wave of criticism on social media even as the company denied wrongdoing.
Sheikh has reportedly submitted an application seeking pre-arrest bail in the SHC today (May 25) to avoid any possibility of arrest. The application is expected to be heard during the day.
As the scandal surrounding Axact’s fake degree empire roiled the country, several senior journalists announced on Saturday that they were leaving the Bol Network, a sister concern of the controversial IT company.
Those who quit Bol included the network’s two top executives, Kamran Khan and Azhar Abbas.
“Charges against Axact are far from having been proved in court but my conscience is not letting me continue,” tweeted Bol’s president and editor-in-chief Kamran Khan, who had earlier called on the Supreme Court to form an independent panel of experts to look into the NYTclaims about Axact.
“I have decided to disassociate from Bol immediately,” he continued in his post on the microblogging website.
The government has decided to enlist the help of America’s Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Interpol in investigating the multimillion-dollar fake degrees scam.
Speaking at a news conference, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan had said they have found ‘substantive evidence’ on the ‘illegal operations’ of Axact and that the government would soon contact FBI and Interpol. “In light of the developments that have come through in the FIA inquiry, we have decided to write to the FBI within the next two days to ask for legal assistance,” he added.
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