A former employee of Axact, a so-called software firm accused of running a multimillion-dollar fake degrees empire, has revealed that the company used to coerce customers into buying degrees irrespective of their academic qualification.
“We used to telephone potential customers and tell them that they qualify for a degree of such and such university on the basis of their experience,” the former Axact employee, Taha Jatoi, said in a television show on Monday.
He said the company’s sales pitch used to be that a person can get any qualification for a reasonable amount. “We had targets. Our agenda used to be getting more and more enrollments for the assigned universities,” he revealed.
Every team had a different university assigned to it, he said, adding that the team’s good performance helped it scale the ladder quickly.
Asked why he quit Axact, Jatoi said, “I felt it was immoral, if not illegal.” However, he added that since the whole scam has been exposed he now considers it illegal.
“A person pays hard earned money to get a degree to enhance his qualification in the hope of better job opportunities, but we sold him a fake one, which was nothing but a piece of paper. ¬This weighed on my conscience,” he said.
Jatoi explained that all the universities were being run on paper only from the headquarters of Axact in Karachi. He added that the Belford University was also run from the same office. “Like other projects of the company, Belford existed on paper. First it was a high school, but later it was upgraded to a degree-issuing university – on paper only,” he added.
The show host reminded that a $2.2 million decree was passed by a court in Detroit, US, against those responsible for cheating public at large in the United States under the guise of online degree programme of Belford. The penalty remains unpaid till date, the host said, adding that the Detroit court could approach Axact for payment.
Jatoi said he was assigned getting enrollments for Rise University from where he was shifted to MIST University of California, which was at that time the highest earning project of Axact. Jatoi added that apart from the degree mill, Axact was also running a term-paper and thesis sales service.
Students in their final year would send requests for term papers or theses for higher studies and Axact would get it prepared for a hefty amount. Girls were best at making papers. “They have a temperament of being bookworms,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 26th, 2015.