- FIA Sindh DG says ‘hundreds of thousands’ of fake degrees found in Axact’s Karachi office
- FIR against Shoaib Shaikh to include sections related to money laundering and cyber crime
The man at the centre of the world’s biggest education scam, Axact Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Shoaib Ahmed Shaikh, was taken into custody late on Tuesday night by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) in connection with the ongoing probe into the fake degree scandal that has been making rounds in international and national media following a report in The New York Times last week.
FIA Sindh Director General Shahid Hayat told reporters outside the Axact headquarters in Karachi that investigators had found hundreds of thousands of blank fake degrees from the Axact office during a search operation carried out in the building.
“We received information about Axact’s printing operations from a source. The office was opened in the presence of a judicial magistrate and degrees and student ID cards were found in the hundreds of thousands,” Hayat said, adding that there was sufficient evidence to lodge a case against Axact and its CEO Shoaib Shaikh.
Sources told Pakistan Today that the draft of a First Information Report (FIR) against Shoaib Shaikh has also been prepared and sections related to money laundering and cyber crime would be incorporated in it.
Shaikh has been questioned by the FIA regarding the issuance of fake degrees and various bank accounts for two days in a row. Following his appearance before the federal investigators on Monday, he was again summoned at the FIA head office in Karachi on Tuesday morning. Shaikh has not left the building since then.
According to sources, Shaikh was also unable to provide a list of expenses sought by the FIA investigators. The FIA had also sought from Axact No-Objection Certificates (NOC) of educational institutes, documents pertaining to affiliation with the Higher Education Commission (HEC) and documents related to revenues from fees earned.
The Axact scandal came to light when the New York Times published an investigative report claiming that the Pakistani IT company had made millions of dollars selling fake degrees online.
Following the NYT story, Pakistan authorities were quick to act as Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan ordered the FIA to launch a probe into the fake degree scandal.