Don’t be fooled by the eye-catching websites of hundreds of schools and universities, offering degrees in numerous disciplines including law, civil engineering and MBA. Axact is providing fake degrees. It’s all a scam!
Axact has worked really hard to make it all look real. They have posted reports on CNN ireport’s website. The also provide the State Department’s verification certificates which have the signatures of John Kerry, the secretary of State. But if you take a closer look, you will get to know that it’s just a fabrication. The universities are fictitious and the websites which provide accreditation are false.
The company claims to be the biggest software exporter of Pakistan. It does sell software. But the main business is selling fake degrees and most of the revenue is generated from the same source. As people are becoming more interested in online education Axact was trying to make itself prominent in the area of online education to tempt international customers.
The sales persons work in shifts 24/7. Sometimes they sell to customers who know exactly that they are buying a fake degree. But they also entice people interested in real education to enroll. They never receive the coursework but only the bogus degree. These salespersons are highly education young people from Pakistan. They know fluent English or Arabic. They usually have excellent sales skills and are able to convince people to get enrolled. They even go to the extent of impersonating American officials to convince customers to get diplomas or certificates.
Response to the Allegations:
The New York Times repeatedly asked Axact for interview to which they responded in a letter blaming New York Time for conspiring and created half-cooked stories. Later when the article got published in New York Times Axact responded by saying that they would seek legal counsel. The claimed the story to be false and fabricated. The Ceo Shoaib Sheikh simply blamed rival media companies because he claims they want to defame BOL as well. It is a news channel started by Axact. He completely put the blame on their competitors for defaming the company. He didn’t give any clarification about the allegations. He should have explained about the products that they deal in and how they earn millions of Dollars, instead of bashing out the competitors.
How is BOL being funded?
For two years Axact is working to develop a news and media group called BOL. They are hiring well known journalists by offering huge salaries. How Axact is funding this venture is something to ponder upon. Shoaib Sheik claims that he is a patriot and wants to establish a channel which portrays positive image of Pakistan. It’s quite obvious that the fake degrees are providing funds for running this media group.
Developing an entire network:
Axact universities and schools have the same eye-catching website and American toll free contact numbers. All these sites are also linked to the same fake accreditation bodies. The professors and students in the ads are paid actors who are often used for promotion of different universities. The employees would also place false reports on CNN’s ireport. Although CNN claims not to have verified the reports but Axact is taking full advantage of CNN’s logo.
In 2009 the company was charged by an American citizen who was angry that her school diploma was useless. Many of the other victims of Axact’s fraud joined the suit after it was filed. The case was going to turn into a class-action lawsuit. The websites charged by the woman were Belford University and Belford high school. Salem Qureshi stepped up as a defendant, who claimed to be running the website. He said that he didn’t have any connection with Axact. The lawsuit came to an end in 2012. The defendant was charged to pay $22.7 million in damages but these charges were never paid.
FIA raided Axact’s office, it seized computers and files. More than 30 people have been held for questioning. Many say that the FIA raids without a warrant are shocking. But can you blame the agencies? Everyone knew about Axact. There have been lawsuits before but it all gets covered up. We live in a system were corruption is taking place right under our noses but nobody can do anything about it. Yes! The raid might be outside legal boundaries. But when the criminals are walking free extreme measures need to be taken.
Pakistan Governments Role:
It’s surprising that the government only took action after the New York Times published the article. Why didn’t the government take action before? Well it’s quite easy to explain. When a country is being ruled by corrupt politicians, who have millions of dollars in Swiss accounts, what can you expect?
Let’s hope that this time we get some solid results and the case doesn’t die out like so many other cases in Pakistan. We hope that this time justice would prevail.