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Fake degree case: Axact CEO, 22 others get 7-year jail term

ISLAMABAD:  A district and session court on Thursday sentenced IT firm Axact’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Shoaib Shaikh and 22 others to seven years in prison in the fake degree scandal case, ARY News reported.

According to ARY News correspondent Shah Khalid, the Axact CEO Shoaib Shaikh and others were given 3 years and fined Rs0.3 million under sections 419 and 420 of Pakistan Penal Code. They were also sentenced to 7 years each under sections 468 and 471, and fined Rs1 million each.

District and Sessions Judge Islamabad Chaudhry Mumtaz Hussain, however, acquitted three co-accused including Shoaib Sheikh’s wife Ayesha Shoaib, over lack of evidence.

As all the sentences will run concurrently, the maximum time each convict would have to spend in jail is seven years.

The case dates back to the year 2015, when IT firm Axact was accused by the New York Times of running a network of hundreds of websites for phoney universities complete with paid actors for promotional videos, as part of an elaborate scheme that generated tens of millions of dollars annually.

Officials at the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) swooped on the Karachi headquarters of the company, confiscating computers and records and expelling employees from the building.

In October 2016, Shoaib Shaikh was acquitted by additional district and sessions judge (ADSJ) Pervezul Qadir Memon, a judgement that was set aside by IHC division bench in April, 2018.

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