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Fake degrees scam: SC withdraws order to place Axact CEO on ECL

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Friday withdrew its orders with regard to inclusion of the names of Axact CEO Shoaib Sheikh and other accused named in the fake degrees case on the Exit Control List (ECL).

Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar, who headed a bench, directed the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to file appeals challenging the bail granted to the accused persons in the Sindh High Court (SHC) at the earliest.

He also directed the SHC chief justice to form a special bench to decide the appeals within fifteen days.

These directions came during the hearing of a suo motu case pertaining to the Axact fake degrees scam.

The CJP earlier directed the interior secretary to place the names of the accused persons, including Shoaib Sheikh, on the ECL, but later took back the decision after assurance by the Axact CEO that he will not leave the country without the court’s permission.

Back in 2015, FIA  filed a case against the Axact CEO and others when the fake degrees scandal surfaced.

The company was accused of selling fake diplomas and online degrees through fictitious schools, earning tens of millions of dollars annually.

Following the scandal, the offices of the Axact were sealed, its CEO and other officials arrested and a probe was launched into the matter.

Of late, the apex court took cognizance of the scandal days after BBC Radio 4 revealed that thousands of UK citizens bought fake degrees from the “diploma mill” in Pakistan.

More than 3,000 fake Axact qualifications were sold to UK-based buyers in 2013 and 2014, including master’s degrees, doctorates and PhDs, it said.

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