ISLAMABAD: The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on Tuesday arrested Axact’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Shoaib Shaikh in the fake degrees case.
Sources said that Shaikh will be produced before a local court on Wednesday.
Shaikh, along with 22 others involved in the fake degree scandal that rocked the country in May 2015 was sentenced to 20 years in prison with a fine of Rs1.3 million each by a district and sessions court earlier in July this year.
Shaikh and others were sentenced to three years each under sections 419 and 420 of the Pakistan Penal Code. They were also sentenced to 7 years each under sections 468 and 471, and fined Rs1 million each.
The trial court judge had earlier acquitted Axact’s CEO and others accused. The additional district and sessions judge Pervaiz-ul-Qadir-Memon had confessed to receiving Rs5 million for acquitting Shoaib Sheikh in the case.
The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had also filed an appeal with the Islamabad High Court (IHC) against the trial court’s order, acquitting all accused in the case.
The IHC had then declared the acquittal of Axact CEO Shoaib Sheikh and others void. It had ordered the sessions court to listen to the final arguments and announce a verdict in the case.
The court also acquitted Aisha Shoaib Sheikh, Col (r) Jamil Ahmed and Lt Col (r) Muhammad Younas, giving them the benefit of doubt.
The Axact fake degree scandal came to the spotlight when The New York Times published an article, claiming Axact sold fake degrees online through hundreds of fake schools.
The offices of the company were sealed and it’s CEO and senior officials were arrested after the issue surfaced.
Umair Hamid, a senior manager of the company was sentenced to 21 months in a US prison in August 2017 for his part in Axact’s fraudulent activities.
According to the US Department of Justice’s website, Hamid pled guilty on April 6 this year to conspiracy to commit wire fraud. “He entered the guilty plea before a US District judge who imposed today’s sentence.”
Hamid, an executive of Axact, was arrested on Dec 19, 2016, according to a statement by former Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara. He was produced in a federal court in Fort Mitchell, Kentucky, the following day.
According to the department of justice, Hamid was involved in running a “massive diploma mill” through Axact, which tricked people into enrolling in fictitious universities and colleges.