Fake diplomas, real cash: Pakistani company Axact reaps millions

Published: May 18, 2015
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PHOTO: THE NEW YORK TIMES

PHOTO: THE NEW YORK TIMES

Seen from the Internet, it is a vast education empire: hundreds of universities and high schools, with elegant names and smiling professors at sun-dappled American campuses.

Their websites, glossy and assured, offer online degrees in dozens of disciplines, like nursing and civil engineering. There are glowing endorsements on the CNN iReport website, enthusiastic video testimonials, and State Department authentication certificates bearing the signature of Secretary of State John Kerry.

“We host one of the most renowned faculty in the world,” boasts a woman introduced in one promotional video as the head of a law school. “Come be a part of Newford University to soar the sky of excellence.”

Yet on closer examination, this picture shimmers like a mirage. The news reports are fabricated. The professors are paid actors. The university campuses exist only as stock photos on computer servers. The degrees have no true accreditation.

In fact, very little in this virtual academic realm, appearing to span at least 370 websites, is real — except for the tens of millions of dollars in estimated revenue it gleans each year from many thousands of people around the world, all paid to a secretive Pakistani software company.

That company, Axact, operates from the port city of Karachi, where it employs over 2,000 people and calls itself Pakistan’s largest software exporter, with Silicon Valley-style employee perks like a swimming pool and yacht.

Axact does sell some software applications. But according to former insiders, company records and a detailed analysis of its websites, Axact’s main business has been to take the centuries-old scam of selling fake academic degrees and turn it into an Internet-era scheme on a global scale.

As interest in online education is booming, the company is aggressively positioning its school and portal websites to appear prominently in online searches, luring in potential international customers.

At Axact’s headquarters, former employees say, telephone sales agents work in shifts around the clock. Sometimes they cater to customers who clearly understand that they are buying a shady instant degree for money. But often the agents manipulate those seeking a real education, pushing them to enroll for coursework that never materializes, or assuring them that their life experiences are enough to earn them a diploma.

To boost profits, the sales agents often follow up with elaborate ruses, including impersonating American government officials, to persuade customers to buy expensive certifications or authentication documents.

Revenues, estimated by former employees and fraud experts at several million dollars per month, are cycled through a network of offshore companies. All the while, Axact’s role as the owner of this fake education empire remains obscured by proxy Internet services, combative legal tactics and a chronic lack of regulation in Pakistan.

“Customers think it’s a university, but it’s not,” said Yasir Jamshaid, a quality control official who left Axact in October. “It’s all about the money.”

Axact’s response to repeated requests for interviews over the past week, and to a list of detailed questions submitted to its leadership on Thursday, was a letter from its lawyers to The New York Times on Saturday. In the letter, it issued a blanket denial, accusing a Times reporter of “coming to our client with half-cooked stories and conspiracy theories.”

In an interview in November 2013 about Pakistan’s media sector, Axact’s founder and chief executive, Shoaib Ahmed Shaikh, described Axact as an “I.T. and I.T. network services company” that serves small and medium-sized businesses. “On a daily basis we make thousands of projects. There’s a long client list,” he said, but declined to name those clients.

The accounts by former employees are supported by internal company records and court documents reviewed by The New York Times. The Times also analyzed more than 370 websites — including school sites, but also a supporting body of search portals, fake accreditation bodies, recruitment agencies, language schools and even a law firm — that bear Axact’s digital fingerprints.

In academia, diploma mills have long been seen as a nuisance. But the proliferation of Internet-based degree schemes has raised concerns about their possible use in immigration fraud, and about dangers they may pose to public safety and legal systems. In 2007, for example, a British court jailed Gene Morrison, a fake police criminologist who claimed to have degree certificates from the Axact-owned Rochville University, among other places.

Little of this is known in Pakistan, where Axact has dodged questions about its diploma business and has portrayed itself as a roaring success and model corporate citizen.

“Winning and caring” is the motto of Mr. Shaikh, who claims to donate 65 percent of Axact’s revenues to charity, and last year announced plans for a program to educate 10 million Pakistani children by 2019.

More immediately, he is working to become Pakistan’s most influential media mogul. For almost two years now, Axact has been building a broadcast studio and aggressively recruiting prominent journalists for Bol, a television and newspaper group scheduled to start this year.

Just how this ambitious venture is being funded is a subject of considerable speculation in Pakistan. Axact has filed several pending lawsuits, and Mr. Shaikh has issued vigorous public denials, to reject accusations by media competitors that the company is being supported by the Pakistani military or organized crime. What is clear, given the scope of Axact’s diploma operation, is that fake degrees are likely providing financial fuel for the new media business.

“Hands down, this is probably the largest operation we’ve ever seen,” said Allen Ezell, a retired F.B.I. agent and author of a book on diploma mills who has been investigating Axact. “It’s a breathtaking scam.”

Building a Web

At first glance, Axact’s universities and high schools are linked only by superficial similarities: slick websites, toll-free American contact numbers and calculatedly familiar-sounding names, like Barkley, Columbiana and Mount Lincoln.

But other clues signal common ownership. Many sites link to the same fictitious accreditation bodies and have identical graphics, such as a floating green window with an image of a headset-wearing woman who invites customers to chat.

There are technical commonalities, too: identical blocks of customized coding, and the fact that a vast majority route their traffic through two computer servers run by companies registered in Cyprus and Latvia.

Five former employees confirmed many of these sites as in-house creations of Axact, where executives treat the online schools as lucrative brands to be meticulously created and forcefully marketed, frequently through deception.

The professors and bubbly students in promotional videos are actors, according to former employees, and some of the stand-ins feature repeatedly in ads for different schools.

The sources described how employees would plant fictitious reports about Axact universities on iReport, a section of the CNN website for citizen journalism. Although CNN stresses that it has not verified the reports, Axact uses the CNN logo as a publicity tool on many of its sites.

Social media adds a further patina of legitimacy. LinkedIn contains profiles for purported faculty members of Axact universities, like Christina Gardener, described as a senior consultant at Hillford University and a former vice president at Southwestern Energy, a publicly listed company in Houston. In an email, a Southwestern spokeswoman said the company had no record of an employee with that name.

The heart of Axact’s business, however, is the sales team — young and well-educated Pakistanis, fluent in English or Arabic, who work the phones with customers who have been drawn in by the websites. They offer everything from high school diplomas for about $350, to doctoral degrees for $4,000 and above.

“It’s a very sales-oriented business,” said a former employee who, like several others, spoke on the condition of anonymity because he feared legal action by Axact.

A new customer is just the start. To meet their monthly targets, Axact sales agents are schooled in tough tactics known as upselling, according to former employees. Sometimes they cold-call prospective students, pretending to be corporate recruitment agents with a lucrative job offer — but only if the student buys an online course.

A more lucrative form of upselling involves impersonating American government officials who wheedle or bully customers into buying State Department authentication certificates signed by Secretary Kerry.

Such certificates, which help a degree to be recognized abroad, can be lawfully purchased in the United States for less than $100. But in Middle Eastern countries, Axact officials sell the documents — some of them forged, others secured under false pretenses — for thousands of dollars each.

“They would threaten the customers, telling them that their degrees would be useless if they didn’t pay up,” said a former sales agent who left Axact in 2013.

Axact tailors its websites to appeal to customers in its principal markets, including the United States and oil-rich Persian Gulf countries. One Saudi man spent over $400,000 on fake degrees and associated certificates, said Mr. Jamshaid, the former employee.

Usually the sums are less startling, but still substantial.

One Egyptian man paid $12,000 last year for a doctorate in engineering technology from Nixon University and a certificate signed by Mr. Kerry. He acknowledged breaking ethical boundaries: His professional background was in advertising, he said in a phone interview, speaking on the condition of anonymity to avoid potential legal trouble.

But he was certain the documents were real. “I really thought this was coming from America,” he said. “It had so many foreigner stamps. It was so impressive.”

Real-Life Troubles

Many customers of degree operations, hoping to secure a promotion or pad their résumé, are clearly aware that they are buying the educational equivalent of a knockoff Rolex. Some have been caught.

In the United States, one federal prosecution in 2008 revealed that 350 federal employees, including officials at the departments of State and Justice, held qualifications from a non-Axact-related diploma mill operation based in Washington State.

Some Axact-owned school websites have previously made the news as being fraudulent, though without the company’s ownership role being discovered. In 2013, for instance, Drew Johansen, a former Olympic swim coach, was identified in a news report as a graduate of Axact’s bogus Rochville University.

The effects have sometimes been deeply disruptive. In Britain, the police had to re-examine 700 cases that Mr. Morrison, the falsely credentialed police criminologist and Rochville graduate, had worked on. “It looked easier than going to a real university,” Mr. Morrison said during his 2007 trial.

In the Middle East, Axact has sold aeronautical degrees to airline employees, and medical degrees to hospital workers. One nurse at a large hospital in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, admitted to spending $60,000 on an Axact-issued medical degree to secure a promotion.

But there is also evidence that many Axact customers are dupes, lured by the promise of a real online education.

Elizabeth Lauber, a bakery worker from Bay City, Mich., had been home-schooled, but needed a high school diploma to enroll in college. In 2006, she called Belford High School, which had her pay $249 and take a 20-question knowledge test online.

Weeks later, while waiting for the promised coursework, Ms. Lauber was surprised to receive a diploma in the mail. But when she tried to use the certificate at a local college, an official said it was useless. “I was so angry,” she said by phone.

Last May, Mohan, a junior accountant at a construction firm in Abu Dhabi, paid $3,300 for what he believed was going to be an 18-month online master’s program in business administration at the Axact-owned Grant Town University.

A sales agent assured Mohan, a 39-year-old Indian citizen who asked to be identified only by part of his name, of a quality education. Instead, he received a cheap tablet computer in the mail — it featured a school logo but no education applications or coursework — followed by a series of insistent demands for more money.

When a phone caller who identified himself as an American Embassy official railed at Mohan for his lack of an English-language qualification, he agreed to pay $7,500 to the Global Institute of English Language Training Certification, an Axact-run website.

In a second call weeks later, the man pressed Mohan to buy a State Department authentication certificate signed by Mr. Kerry. Mohan charged $7,500 more to his credit card.

Then in September a different man called, this time claiming to represent the United Arab Emirates government. If Mohan failed to legalize his degree locally, the man warned, he faced possible deportation. Panicking, Mohan spoke to his sales agent at Axact and agreed to pay $18,000 in installments.

By October, he was $30,000 in debt and sinking into depression. He had stopped sending money to his parents in India, and hid his worries from his wife, who had just given birth.

“She kept asking why I was so tense,” said Mohan during a recent interview near his home in Abu Dhabi. “But I couldn’t say it to anyone.”

Chasing Bill Gates

In Pakistan, Mr. Shaikh, Axact’s chief executive, portrays himself as a self-made tycoon of sweeping ambition with a passion for charity.

Growing up in a one-room house, he said in a speech posted on the company’s website, his goal was to become “the richest man on the planet, even richer than Bill Gates.” At gala company events he describes Axact, which he founded in 1997, as a global software leader. His corporate logo — a circular design with a soaring eagle — bears a striking resemblance to the American presidential seal.

Unusual for a software entrepreneur, Mr. Shaikh does not habitually use email or a cellphone, said several people recruited to his new station, Bol.

But his ambition is undimmed: Last year he announced plans for Gal Axact, a futuristic headquarters building with its own monorail system and space for 20,000 employees. His philanthropic vision, meanwhile, has a populist streak that resonates with many Pakistanis’ frustrations with their government.

As well as promising to educate 10 million children, Mr. Shaikh last year started a project to help resolve small civil disputes — a pointed snub to the country’s sclerotic justice system — and vowed to pump billions of dollars into Pakistan’s economy.

There is no power in the universe that can prevent us from realizing this dream,” he declared in the speech.

But some employees, despite the good salaries and perks they enjoyed, became disillusioned by the true nature of Axact’s business.

During three months working in the internal audit department last year, monitoring customer phone calls, Mr. Jamshaid grew dismayed by what he heard: customers being cajoled into spending tens of thousands of dollars, and tearful demands for refunds that were refused.

“I had a gut feeling that it was not right,” he said.

In October, Mr. Jamshaid quit Axact and moved to the United Arab Emirates, taking with him internal records of 22 individual customer payments totaling over $600,000.

Mr. Jamshaid has since contacted most of those customers, offering to use his knowledge of Axact’s internal protocols to obtain refunds. Several spurned his approach, seeing it as a fresh effort to defraud them. But a few, including Mohan, accepted his offer.

After weeks of fraught negotiations, Axact refunded Mohan $31,300 last fall.

The Indian accountant found some satisfaction, but mostly felt chastened and embarrassed.

“I was a fool,” he said, shaking his head. “It could have ruined me.”

Deception and Threats

Axact’s role in the diploma mill industry was nearly exposed in 2009 when an American woman in Michigan, angry that her online high school diploma had proved useless, sued two Axact-owned websites, Belford High School and Belford University.

The case quickly expanded into a class-action lawsuit with an estimated 30,000 American claimants. Their lawyer, Thomas H. Howlett, said in an interview that he found “hundreds of stories of people who have been genuinely tricked,” including Ms. Lauber, who joined the suit after it was established.

But instead of Axact, the defendant who stepped forward was Salem Kureshi, a Pakistani who claimed to be running the websites from his apartment. Over three years of hearings, his only appearance was in a video deposition from a dimly lit room in Karachi, during which he was barely identifiable. An associate who also testified by video, under the name “John Smith,” wore sunglasses.

Mr. Kureshi’s legal fees of over $400,000 were paid to his American lawyers through cash transfers from different currency exchange stores in Dubai, court documents show. Recently a reporter was unable to find his given address in Karachi.

“We were dealing with an elusive and illusory defendant,” said Mr. Howlett, the lawyer for the plaintiffs.

In his testimony, Mr. Kureshi denied any links to Axact, even though mailboxes operated by the Belford schools listed the company’s headquarters as their forwarding address.

The lawsuit ended in 2012 when a federal judge ordered Mr. Kureshi and Belford to pay $22.7 million in damages. None of the damages have been paid, Mr. Howlett said.

Today, Belford is still open for business, using a slightly different website address. Former Axact employees say that during their inductions into the company, the two schools were held out as prized brands.

Axact does have regular software activities, mainly in website design and smartphone applications, former employees say. Another business unit, employing about 100 people, writes term papers on demand for college students.

But the employees say those units are outstripped by its diploma business, which as far back as 2006 was already earning Axact around $4,000 a day, according to a former software engineer who helped build several sites. Current revenues are at least 30 times higher, by several estimates, and are funneled through companies registered in places like Dubai, Belize and the British Virgin Islands.

Axact has brandished legal threats to dissuade reporters, rivals and critics. Under pressure from Axact, a major British paper, The Mail on Sunday, withdrew an article from the Internet in 2006. Later, using an apparently fictitious law firm, the company faced down a consumer rights group in Botswana that had criticized Axact-run Headway University.

It has also petitioned a court in the United States, bringing a lawsuit in 2007 against an American company that is a competitor in the essay-writing business, Student Network Resources, and that had called Axact a “foreign scam site.” The American company countersued and was awarded $700,000, but no damages have been paid, the company’s lawyer said.

In his interview with The New York Times in 2013, Axact’s chief executive, Mr. Shaikh, acknowledged that the company had faced criticism in the media and on the Internet in Britain, the United States and Pakistan, and noted that Axact had frequently issued a robust legal response.

“We have picked up everything, we have gone to the courts,” he said. “Lies cannot flourish like that.”

Mr. Shaikh said that the money for Axact’s new media venture, Bol, would “come from our own funds.”

With so much money at stake, and such considerable effort to shield its interests, one mystery is why Axact is ready to risk it all on a high-profile foray into the media business. Bol has already caused a stir in Pakistan by poaching star talent from rival organizations, often by offering unusually high salaries.

Mr. Shaikh says he is motivated by patriotism: Bol will “show the positive and accurate image of Pakistan,” he said last year. He may also be betting that the new operation will buy him influence and political sway.

In any event, Axact’s business model faces few threats within Pakistan, where it does not promote its degrees.

When reporters for The Times contacted 12 Axact-run education websites on Friday, asking about their relationship to Axact and the Karachi office, sales representatives variously claimed to be based in the United States, denied any connection to Axact or hung up immediately.

“This is a university, my friend,” said one representative when asked about Axact. “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

The article was originally published in The New York Times

Read the list of sites allegedly run by Axact here

Facebook Conversations

Reader Comments (51)

  • Khans Rocks
    May 18, 2015 - 8:18PM
  • A Karachiite
    May 18, 2015 - 8:44PM

    Deccan, you are an amazing journalist and the world needs you. Thank you for exposing this corrupt mafia! The world needs harbingers of truth like you! I never knew what Axact did even though its based in Karachi, but now I know.

    Axact, your time is done. The journey to bring you to justice has started and it will be successful. InshAllah.Recommend

  • salman
    May 18, 2015 - 9:49PM

    This may bring a bad impact on I.T. industry of Pakistan since foreign companies will think twice before outscoring their stuff to us now as Axact claims herself as leading I.T company of Pakistan. If this is our leading I.T. company than God knows what about the others. Also revenue generated by this company was millions which will most probably be freeze now.Recommend

  • Mahesh
    May 18, 2015 - 9:52PM

    Simply brilliant! If only this man had used his brains and ambition to do something honest and legal. Hope the judiciary in Pakistan will bring justice to the millions who have been defrauded. Recommend

  • pakistani
    May 18, 2015 - 10:25PM

    As a software company they don’t have even a single product that could earn them even 5% of which they have earned.Even software governing body of Pakistan PASHA don’t consider them as a IT company.Recommend

  • Basit
    May 19, 2015 - 12:12AM

    And they are same byproducts of their criminal leaders these things will happenRecommend

  • Ahmad
    May 19, 2015 - 12:16AM

    Slick operators. Preying on the marginalized and uninformed people of the world. This goes to show you that with some clicks of the mouse you can make a fool of people-including all those
    ‘celebrities in their promotional videos.’ Giving bad name to the country that cannot afford such publicity. These guys, from top to bottom, should be put away for a long time.
    FRAUDIYYAS Recommend

  • Kashif
    May 19, 2015 - 1:37AM

    Apart from fake degrees, their other money maker is hosting the world’s porn sites. Sites which are illegal in other countries are hosted at AXACT! What a Sick organization. Fake degrees and Porn!Recommend

  • Tamer
    May 19, 2015 - 1:57AM

    @pakistani:
    “…Even software governing body of Pakistan PASHA don’t consider them as a IT company.”

    However, these con artists should be given credit for carrying out a more sophisticated scam than the Nigerians. Recommend

  • salman
    May 19, 2015 - 2:15AM

    outsourcing*Recommend

  • May 19, 2015 - 2:57AM

    https://www.facebook.com/axactandbool

    Nothing this is Propaganda !Recommend

  • salam
    May 19, 2015 - 3:00AM
  • Umais
    May 19, 2015 - 3:30AM

    I know personally atleast two ex-employees of Axact.
    1) They had no complaint about Axact as their employer.
    2) They were working in other companies happily after Axact.
    3) They were had no connection with each other
    4) They said the same things as this article.
    5) They told me these bits of info around 8 months ago.
    6) How can a sane person then conclude that NYT is yahoodi agent hired by GEO to bring down its rival BOL.Recommend

  • Umais
    May 19, 2015 - 4:04AM

    High-profile expulsion: Declan Walsh declared persona non grata

    http://tribune.com.pk/story/571671/high-profile-expulsion-declan-walsh-declared-persona-non-grata/

    isnt this the same author??

    shame express tribuneRecommend

  • Munna Bhai Karachi
    May 19, 2015 - 4:04AM

    the so called tv anchors always revealing “truth” in investigative journalism( so called) who lured to BOL , what they have to say now ??? Kamran Khan , Jasmine Manzoor ,Mubashir Luqman and company ???? Where is your investigation now ?

    It must have dawned to you now from where you had been getting paid from for the last one year .

    Axact=BOL = LOL Recommend

  • Umais
    May 19, 2015 - 4:05AM
  • MK
    May 19, 2015 - 4:06AM

    I remember watching a recording of the ceo of this company make a speech, some time last year. Could see this company was built on shady foundations from a mile off. Bill Gates? lol.

    Salute to ET for this in depth piece. Recommend

  • Umais
    May 19, 2015 - 4:08AM
  • Umais
    May 19, 2015 - 4:17AM

    we pakistanis only want to see one side of the story
    and because of that opportunists knowingly or unknowingly defame the Image of Pakistan, for their personal gains,
    so try and get the whole picture before making up your mind

    Declan Walsh, author of this article, heres something about him from your very own EXPRESS TRIBUNE:
    http://tribune.com.pk/story/571671/high-profile-expulsion-declan-walsh-declared-persona-non-grata/Recommend

  • Zaida
    May 19, 2015 - 5:58AM

    This is axactly the problem in Pakistan. Good education is non-existent. Also, please change the acronym “PASHA”. Recommend

  • A. Khan
    May 19, 2015 - 6:39AM

    @Mahesh: The judiciary has already been bought out by this guy. Just read the stay order issued by them. Well, if these guys are forging John Kerry’s signature, it should be a one-way ticket to a super-max prison for Mr. Shoaib, once the FBI get hold of him. Pity as it could have used it for some good. Another black stain on Pakistan and Pakistani’s reputation around the world.Recommend

  • wb
    May 19, 2015 - 6:48AM

    It’s interesting that the company calls itself a World’s leading IT company, while no one has even heard of its name.

    This is a thoroughly well researched and articulated piece.

    I seriously doubt that ET is even capable of such article, as claimed by Axact.

    NYT is the world’s leading print news outlet for exactly this reason. Their articles are so superbly well researched and take multiple point of views and connect them so very well to the last dot.

    Now the question is, will the government of Pakistan take any action against Axact or will it protect it like it protected lo many terrorists and crooks.Recommend

  • wb
    May 19, 2015 - 6:50AM

    @pakistani:

    Product is not an essential criteria to make money. Most Indian companies have not a single product to boast about, yet they’re some of the biggest companies in the world. They make money by mere services.

    But this story is interesting. Let’s see what the outcome is going to be.Recommend

  • Abdul Rehman Haroon
    May 19, 2015 - 7:16AM

    Yes Axact does engaged in selling Fake diplomas, also called “Life Experience Degrees”. Our boss used to be a guy named Zeeshan Ahmed, who was in charge of everything pertaining to these operations. We were taught to hard sell, them to clients by saying that they are 100% accredited and they can get a job anywhere with it. So, this news piece is 100% factual.

    The only thing I’d like to point out is that there are 200 plus people working there and they all know what’s going on but they never quit their jobs. They willingly engage in this type of operation and compensated smartly for it. Which goes to show that money and power is in fact corruptible, because educated people are willing to do this just for a few extra bucks. Recommend

  • H. Khan
    May 19, 2015 - 7:17AM

    I am sure FBR will investigate this and get the nation it’s due taxesRecommend

  • Shaan
    May 19, 2015 - 7:59AM

    Nothing new here. This is typical of all things we produce or come across in Pakistan. We are corrupt to the core. Morally corrupt. We take great pride in fooling, fleecing and robbing people. We want the easy way out. Cheat all the time. Cheaters of systems, people who bypass rules and cheat the system are given pride of place spots in our society.

    Why does this surprise anyone?Recommend

  • AXACT is Sick
    May 19, 2015 - 8:10AM

    @Kashif – Do you mean they are in business of hosting child porn ? OMG..Recommend

  • Fake
    May 19, 2015 - 8:53AM

    Pakistanis have become expert in embarrassing and shaming their country worldwide. With people like you, do you need enemies ?Recommend

  • Ex employee
    May 19, 2015 - 10:22AM

    Its true, i have worked for the company. They have department with the name of International Sales in which we have to do the same, they pay more than any company in Pakistan so people are willing to work for that.
    They are not into porn business, they used to do marketing or SEO for those websites.
    You can see their career page, their are openings of INTERNATIONAL SALES they have a catchy name for that, but in reality we are selling degrees, documents, reports, content writing material etc etc.Recommend

  • Oxy Moron
    May 19, 2015 - 10:39AM

    @Umals: Yes Sir – Keep mentioning that expulsion of Declan Walsh without realizing its not him but your vaunted institutions you’re exposing.

    You folks have no clue how the world works, do you?Recommend

  • Tahir
    May 19, 2015 - 10:54AM

    @salam:
    Taken down by Forbes? The article originally published on New York Times and it is still there. Recommend

  • S!D
    May 19, 2015 - 11:02AM

    @Umais: @salam: i can see the agents of Axact at work here.Recommend

  • ben
    May 19, 2015 - 12:03PM

    without help of those already in USA it is not possible, for sure any US citizens or groups also involved. it is the habit or its the stereotype mentality of US to blame on Pakistan for every evil.lets say it is there for many years, it shows loopholes in the US system or can we say they knew it already and never came up with this and now they think the right time to tell about this. Impossible to do it without any assistance from people / citizens living in US and impossible all the funds generated out of this business would go to Pakistan only,
    In UK and USA education for international students is a good earning business you all know that. You pay every term to any college on high street without attending classes you get a certificate and who is doing this the citizens themselves. Dont you think the authories of these countries dont know , offcourse they know and dont complain WHY because funds are coming into their country it is a good business for them.
    I will tell you what before pointing fingers on their please look into your own sets of systems which are mainly responsible if any one violates them. Recommend

  • Meshuga
    May 19, 2015 - 12:23PM

    @A Karachiite: Declan, my man, not Deccan. He is now banned from Pakistan for truthful reportage on a different matter.Recommend

  • muhammad
    May 19, 2015 - 12:23PM

    Pakistan has near zero internet merchant acquiring. What exact was doing is putting up we sites to pull in customers and then charge them on us based payment acceptance systems. The revenu in these situation is hardly brought back to pakistan. Only funds for the cost center are sent back.

    Exact and salsoft is example of such companies.

    SBP, yes the statebank is partly to blame as they have ensured that pakistani citizens remain unable to do internet merchant acquiring. As result the talent has been pent up, only to be utilized distortions in Pakistani IT market.

    This is an example of state in flux.Recommend

  • Meshuga
    May 19, 2015 - 12:29PM

    @Umais: But the diploma mill scams are happening outside Pakistan.Recommend

  • Meshuga
    May 19, 2015 - 12:35PM

    @Shaan: Don’t be so hard on yourself. People and companies like these are everywhere. This one got caught.Recommend

  • UT
    May 19, 2015 - 1:12PM

    Although Declan Walsh has been made to exit Pakistan it may question the motivation of the author of the article to take on this company. But,given the evidence,it is enough to warrant an investigation regardless of the author as the sources are real and legitimate. The author may be a part of a conspiracy, taking out his frustration on Pakistan’s deportation, or just plain ol’ dislikes Axact, OR he was declined a job offer when he had applied hence is a disgruntled wanna-be-employee. Regardless, the evidence is compelling enough to investigate,to think critically and fairly, and look into a company marred with allegations, not considered an IT company, without any game-changing innovations or patents to support the idea of a multi-billion dollar company with the kind of money it’s throwing at BOL.

    Call a spade a spade, let your gora complex aside…they are gone, now it’s you who has to get rid of your local oppressors. The ones who are now playing with that aforementioned complex. Also,the government asking a journalist to leave isn’t anything but character assasination,the same government you don’t trust and criticize (mostly).So could it be that there was a political agenda behind that? Are their corrupt politicians who can use power to do something wrong or illegal? Therefore with that reasoning, apply this thought to the expulsion (not imprisonment or indictment) of Declan Walsh. And of course the possible complicity of corrupt elements in the govt. that is supporting this beast Axact.Recommend

  • Uza Syed
    May 19, 2015 - 1:40PM

    Is it a case of ‘preemptive strike’ against a real or perceived threat, I mean Express Tribune vs. Bol? I’m not surprised at ET attempt at this drone strike, who would not with weapon like this Delcan whatever on its disposal, after all you invest your resources, in money or kind, to acquire weapons to use for ‘target killings’ and it’s quite obvious who is the target and who the target killers here.Recommend

  • Aschraful Makhlooq
    May 19, 2015 - 1:41PM

    First cheating in the examinations’ stamp is on Pakistan’s educational system and now Axact’s fake degree stamp.Only one department has to be operated in Pakistan for degrees and degrees’ verification,id est,Higher Education Commission and every degree must approved from college level to upper educational level and degrees related to specialization in the specified/selected subjects including medical professionals’ degrees by the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan and Higher Education Commission must be totally free from any pressure/influence in any forms and manifestation so that Pakistan’s educational standard could be trustworthy and credible in the world……Recommend

  • Rizvi
    May 19, 2015 - 2:18PM

    May be propaganda or whatever but No doubt one of best Pakistan’s IT company whose owners using their talent at its peak to made ppl fool at such a large extent…Recommend

  • Saddy
    May 19, 2015 - 3:03PM

    Newyork Times has already spilled beans on Axact. I wonder why Axact has not yet banned or sealed. Why is nobody restricting BOL from coming into operations??? why the world is tolerating these shaddy people??Recommend

  • Umais
    May 19, 2015 - 4:34PM

    @Saddy:
    cos its a lieRecommend

  • Umais
    May 19, 2015 - 4:43PM

    @Meshuga:
    declan , a truthful reporting?? shud i laugh,
    as he reportedon kamra attacks that nukes were kept in kamra base!!!
    hahah
    your true reporter!! Recommend

  • We are Sick
    May 19, 2015 - 4:53PM

    @Shaan:
    pakistanis are sick, want to see one side of the story, story that gives them some thrill,

    in the process defaming our own country,

    Axact needs to be heard as was this exiled reporter(Declan Walsh) was read and heard by Us. NYT is famous for publishing non credible stories,
    but the innocent ppl of Pakistan believe every single thing that they are told , specially if its Negative.

    Shame PakistanisRecommend

  • amar zehri
    May 20, 2015 - 12:09PM

    Really Sick.want to see the both side of the story.Its just like a propaganda against Axact not only Axact Against Pakistan MaybeRecommend

  • Spyrogyra
    May 20, 2015 - 1:41PM

    Seems like another BCCI episode in the making. I would argue whether the “customers” were defrauded. They sought something, and Axact provided it to them. How difficult is it to verify the authenticity of an academic institution? And woe be to those companies who accepted these degrees! More woe to the regulators who should have been keeping watch.

    Now let’s also target the thousands of other such companies and operators that are not based out of Pakistan.Recommend

  • Kiran Amin
    May 20, 2015 - 3:52PM

    The funny part is everyone in Karachi has known for several years now that axact does fake degrees and is involved in quite a few dodgy businesses. I believe it’s corrupt too. However one article in NY times and wow what an uproar! Doesn’t say much about our originality now does it! Recommend

  • ahmed abbas
    May 20, 2015 - 4:21PM

    A sucker is born every minute they say.The sad part is that bigger scams have happened in this country in the past but no one has been punished.These people will get away too after paying the right fee.Tons of ephedrine were sold by officials and nothing happened.Only in Pakistan Recommend

  • steve
    May 21, 2015 - 6:04PM

    @Shaan:
    Even the Government in Pakistan fleecing money and the politicians are lining up their pockets with little regard for the people and the country
    This is unislamic.Recommend

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