Axact CEO, Shoaib Shaikh, has been acquitted of all money laundering charges against him. A district and sessions court, on Wednesday, dropped all charges against Mr. Shaikh due lack of evidence.
Earlier this month, Shoaib Shaikh and 13 other individuals embroiled in the scam were granted bail. During that hearing, Shaukat Hayat, a lawyer for Axact, strongly stated that the accused were entitled to a bail since they have no criminal record. He also pointed out that no evidence has been brought up against the accused despite a passage of 15 months.
Now, less than 10 days after the bail, all charges have been dropped. The defence had moved an application under the section 265-k of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CCP) which sought the accused to be acquitted of all charges on grounds of lack of evidence.
Axact, a Pakistani Software Company, was caught up in the biggest international degree scam last May after the New York Times published a ruthless expose on their undercover, questionable activities. The report alleged that Axact generates tens of millions of dollars in revenue through selling fake academic degrees via 370 websites which portray to be an American educational institute.
However, at the time, Axact dismissed the claims made by the New York Times as completely “baseless, substandard, maligning, defamatory and based on false accusations and merely a figment of imagination”. They even threatened to pursue legal action against the involved parties.
However, before they were able to do anything, Interior Minister urged the FIA to look into the Axact fiasco, and soon enough Axact offices in Karachi and Islamabad were raided on orders of Chaudhary Nisar Ali Khan. Following that, several Axact employees spoke in favor of the NYT articles saying that the company was indeed involved in questionable activities. In less than a month, the whole scandal unfolded and Shoaib Shaikh was arrested along with a case filed against the organization and their operations were seized. Several employees also agreed to testify against their disgraced boss.
Shoaib Shaikh may have been acquitted but the Axact case is far from over as the FIA is still investigating the data gathered from the Axact computers, findings of which will be revealed soon.
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