Unabated disclosures: Axact’s ex-employee spills the beans

Published: May 26, 2015
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Taha Jatoi says the company ran Belford University from Karachi. PHOTO: THE NEW YORK TIMES

Taha Jatoi says the company ran Belford University from Karachi. PHOTO: THE NEW YORK TIMES

KARACHI: 

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.

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Reader Comments (36)

  • Israr
    May 26, 2015 - 9:00AM

    The most worrying aspect of this criminal activity was the competition hard-working genuine students and professionals faced from fake degree holders in places where document vetting isn’t done diligently, like in UAE and Pakistan. Who knows how many high ranking public and private officials in Pakistan benefitted from this service, and who knows how many deserving candidates stayed jobless because someone with some influence used a fake foreign degree to take up the job. These crooks have undermined sanctity of hardwork and therefore deserve severe punishment in my opinion. Also, a drive to vet officials with foreign degrees is urgently needed.Recommend

  • sk
    May 26, 2015 - 9:11AM

    The last sentence says it all.This person suffers from a mixture of jealousy and incompetence and was most probably fired from his job for not meeting targets.suddenly after all these years these ex employee’s have pangs of guilty conscience.Recommend

  • lmao
    May 26, 2015 - 9:11AM

    “Girls have temperament for being bookworm???? – what an idiot!!!! Obviously low morals is not his only problem.Recommend

  • SEAsian
    May 26, 2015 - 9:23AM

    Asian Tiger Pakistan is the King of the Hill !!Recommend

  • pakistani
    May 26, 2015 - 9:39AM

    and they were Pakistanis who were defending or are still defending these people, as they think they brought money back in than take it out from country. Don’t expect other to clean your house when you are not ready yourself.
    We need to get rid of corruption of all sort from this country.Recommend

  • Israr
    May 26, 2015 - 9:48AM

    To all those people who are criticizing these employees; Is there a law that incriminates employees of a corrupt employer for following orders/instructions? If there is one, which I highly doubt, then these ex-employees should be tried in a court of law. If not, then we should appreciate their courage to come in the open. Remember, the scandal was broken because of an ex-Axact employee. If it hadn’t been for his courage then the crooks will still be selling fake degrees.Recommend

  • Troller
    May 26, 2015 - 9:50AM

    Taha Jatoi is the son of a PPP MPA from Sindh. His statement is disqualified due to non-merit and poor credibility he has inherited. Recommend

  • Zayed Hamied
    May 26, 2015 - 9:58AM

    India is behind this to destabilize our software industry……….Recommend

  • Sana Malik
    May 26, 2015 - 10:03AM

    Editor the university name is MUST not MISTRecommend

  • sssj
    May 26, 2015 - 10:42AM

    This whole sordid affair has got nothing to do with fake degrees ( in a country where over a 100 senators have fake degrees ) this can hardly be news, No its about Exact stepping on the turf of bigger players based in the west who didn’t want to share the pie, fake education degree’s happen everyday in America, cyber fraud is multi billion dollar business. Whereas I will never defend wrong but our slave government reacted like a typical slave who jumped into action as soon as their master whistles. Thus need a more systematic approach where symilar crimes where exposed in US as well before happily accepting that it is only pakistan that does such things.Recommend

  • Viqas Atiq
    May 26, 2015 - 11:09AM

    We have checked with our HR department and Mr. Ali Guffar tells me that Taha Jatoi was fired a couple of years back. He was visiting porn sites from his computer and was engaging in other objectionable activities for which he was fired.

    Axact does not sell degrees we outsource our platform, hosting, printing, call center, chat and email services. We do not check if the universities we are working for are legit, that’s not our job that’s the job of the authorities in those respective countries. Recommend

  • RAIS AKBAR
    May 26, 2015 - 11:31AM

    In all probability nothing would happen of this scam unless there is international pressure. Recommend

  • Altaf Hussain, Mumbai
    May 26, 2015 - 11:35AM

    Could be RAW is involved in exposing the AXACT racket to defame Pakistan? Recommend

  • roadkashehzada
    May 26, 2015 - 11:47AM

    he should have some decency. he enjoyed when it was sunny for Axact and now its in hot waters he left it and raising allegations. same goes to so called top journalists.Recommend

  • sk
    May 26, 2015 - 12:04PM

    To all those who cannot digest critisism of so called concientious ex employees of this organization what about the thousands who are still working here ?Recommend

  • Munir Varraich
    May 26, 2015 - 12:19PM

    The interior minister had advised the media not to put AXACT on media trial. Let the inquiry be completed before passing any judgements. It appear this paper has a bias about AXACT.Recommend

  • Moosa
    May 26, 2015 - 12:21PM

    Axact may be corrupt and involved in illegal activities but i’m amazed at the quick response of the govt. FIA comes into action in a day. FBI and Interpol is being contacted. i mean wow! this must be the source of all problems that paksitan is facing. i mean this has to be the most illegal thing that has been done in pakistan cuz nothing else has gotten a better response from the govt!Recommend

  • Tajdar O. Chaudry
    May 26, 2015 - 12:41PM

    I’m not exactly convinced of Axact’s complete innocence in the matter, but what a rubbish piece of reporting. No facts, no links, just heresay and that too from a paper that’s rapidly leaking credibility. Bad show Tribune. Up your standards, or up yours.Recommend

  • amjad iqbal
    May 26, 2015 - 1:06PM

    I have simple words for Pakistani political strategy to destabilize who don’t co-operate with politicians regarding money

    “Disgusting & Cheap”

    Give them money and they will use their conscience “For Sale”. That’s the real philosophy of our politics.
    Rebels can only change the fate of this country otherwise 1973 constitution and its use has eaten us , our peace and our glory.
    I terribly support a 100 years long Army Coup in Pakistan.
    Fed up from ineligible metric pass ministers and under metric police.Recommend

  • Zaida
    May 26, 2015 - 1:09PM

    Companies involved in criminal activities should never let go of their employees.Recommend

  • raw is war
    May 26, 2015 - 2:00PM

    He said the company’s sales pitch used to be that a person can get any qualification for a reasonable amount.

    Speaks very much for all Pakistanis. Is there any honest Pakistani alive?Recommend

  • A Citizen
    May 26, 2015 - 2:22PM

    These degree are not fake, probably the universities are fake. There is a huge difference. What our lawmakers have/had were fake degrees from real universities. A degree is a degreeRecommend

  • Jack Straw
    May 26, 2015 - 2:38PM

    So What I say ! if Axzact was taking everyone for a ride so what ?. It is the norm in our Pakistan . For ten years we are trying to resolve our load shedding but cannot do so because of elected officials trying to maximize profits in commissions and kickbacks . Its all a huge mess .Recommend

  • Saigon
    May 26, 2015 - 3:12PM

    Search online and you will find term paper (thesis) and essay writing services here in london too.
    .
    There is an English millionaire 25 year old who started UK Essays and claims that his papers are not written in 3rd world countries and are written by UK professors.
    .
    When Sunday Times wrote an article on UK essays website, the company put that on their website and got free publicity. It is legal in the west. It happens all over the world and why curse Pakistan?Recommend

  • Shocked
    May 26, 2015 - 3:47PM

    @Viqas Atiq
    No one will buy your stupid argument that you only provide a platform to universities and do not conduct client due diligence before signing a contract with them. I mean I didn’t expect you would come up with such a lame defense. If you tell this in a court of law then you’re probably doomed because you may be running a fund raising program for terrorists that you didn’t know about because you don’t check who your client is and what they do. It’s like Ayyan Ali saying ‘I don’t launder money, I’m only a platform that people use to whiten their money and it’s not my responsibility to check these people, it’s the responsibility of the authorities’Recommend

  • Taimoor
    May 26, 2015 - 4:35PM

    I have been following comments on differnet news websites whenever they post somehting regarding Axact. It seems like that Axact is working very actively to post positive comments about the company under every news artilce. Fake comments, fake degrees lol.Recommend

  • Remember Remember
    May 26, 2015 - 4:40PM

    Whatever this article states Axact was doing, was and is being done by other companies in the rest of the world as well. One must remember the BCCI scandal and what people had to say about it a decade after its dismantling (not saying that I support their immoral practices in any form or manner)Recommend

  • RAIS AKBAR
    May 26, 2015 - 5:15PM

    @Remember Remember: Two wrongs do not make right. We as Muslims should be an example of character and conduct.Recommend

  • Check it
    May 26, 2015 - 6:36PM

    Not to be an “evangelist” on this topic but hey, let’s call spade a spade.

    Women who worked at Axact, well well, should we call them innocent/naive/misinformed?
    I would call them equally responsible/ an accomplice/ guilty. And they must be held responsible for what they have done.

    I have read there were LUMS graduates, earning HIGH remuneration involved. Sigh. So money compromised their sense of responsibility? Or they were really so unaware of the “job market” that they assumed

    I had a friend, who wasn’t a LUMS (or IBA) graduate for that matter, in fact not even a graduate as she was struggling with her C.A (ICAP) and wanted to be financially independent, she worked at a few call centers before Axact gave her the same ‘lucrative’ offer. But guess what, she resigned after a month, she told me the environment was pathetic, “boys used to get drunk and use bad language”, and they ran ‘scam campaigns’,

    I think it’s high time people stop taking ‘refuge’ behind big names like LUMS or IBA for their own fallacies. If you are a bad person, you will be bad regardless of the prestige or brand image associated your ‘perceived personality’ your alma matter gives you. You will disappoint, to say the least, and you will be exposed. SAME APPLIES IF YOU ARE A WOMAN! I completely agree with the writer, that our girls are bookworms. You can “write articles” with great dexterity and pure genius, but you can’t extract the essence of your work? That’s unfortunate really, and no Axact can teach you that. The truth is, most if not all of those girls producing fake academic work and facilitating the degree mill project were doing it for the money. Although a LUMS grad can expect ALOT of opportunities here, THEY CHOSE TO BE AT AXACT. And I only make exceptions for those who may have financial commitments at home; which I highly doubt from a “LUMS” graduate, specially a female.

    Look what happened to the Safoora case crooks, they were all IBA and NED walas (or the sort).

    Evil prevails in Pakistan. That’s all. And women should really own their part in this too.Recommend

  • Oats
    May 26, 2015 - 6:53PM

    @SEAsian: I am sure you know that there are crooks and scammers in all societies and cultures. They exist also in India and there are any number of instances of Indians engaged in scams too. The biggest Ponzi scheme to date was the exploit of Bernie Madoff in New York and it was close to 100 billion dollars and he swindled very intelligent people too. Axact seem to be swindlers who preyed on desperate people who were looking for an easy degree. The moral is that if something is too good to be true, it probably is. Also these people buying degrees for not doing anything are to blame as well.Recommend

  • Myrrit Sipra
    May 26, 2015 - 7:18PM

    @RAIS AKBAR: Hmm… two wrongs don’t make a right..? Depends if one adds or multiplies. Recommend

  • @Viqas Atiq
    May 26, 2015 - 7:37PM

    @Viqas Atiq
    this argument might be “okay” for selling potatoes maybe, not university degrees!Recommend

  • Jawad U Rahman
    May 26, 2015 - 8:17PM

    @Viqas Atiq:
    We see a pattern here. For every allegation, you and Mr. Shoaib start blaming others, or start shouting conspiracy. So far, you have not responded to the content of the allegations. The noose is tightening fast, so you better get honest and start to face the music. These lies and falsehoods will come back and haunt you.Recommend

  • May 26, 2015 - 9:38PM

    Dear I am a Pakistani Scientist. Have a Ph.D in Pharmaceutical sciences from Long Island University and Masters from Ohio University. I have seen my colleagues leaving and shown the door by department chair after 10 years when they could not complete their research with a novel and brand new ideas. There are few companies work which help in correcting Language of your thesis, but no body is allowed to produce theses for others as AXACT was doing. This is called plagiarism and illegal. Some people are arguing that there is Fake degree business in USA/Europe. There could be some small groups trying to buy fake degrees but not at the corporate level. Some people are arguing that company was bringing Foreign exchange to Pakistan, so do some drug traffickers, and ammunition smugglers too. Is it justified. Some people are saying its the matter of 2000 peoples jobs.Being living in United States and working with legitimate business corporate, I have witnessed more than 10,000 people were laid off in a single morning. if Axact would have to fire you for a business reason , it will not take a minute for them. There is no loyalty here. Its business world. If these people are qualified let them quit and look for a new opportunity. They were handsomely paid for defrauding and should have enough savings.. No remorse for those employees. To me its just mind boggling; how can some one be given a fake Ph.D. degree by money while I spent 8 long years in school/lab, published in renowned journals, passed 6 hours chalk and board presentation/theses defense before 10 senior faculties shooting questions from items I learned in 10th grade or 20th grade. Please show to the world that our most important asset is our dedication, sincerity to integrity whether its business or education, or politics. Please root out any sham company or its subsidiary built from this illegal companies money. Recommend

  • MaulaJutt
    May 27, 2015 - 2:03AM

    @Viqas Atiq:
    So the COO of Axact frequents tribune discussions too? lol… Viqas sb you were hosting the sites of these universities on your server.. same server that hosts Axact and BOL… Plus are you a gullible 2nd grader? Wont you bother to carry out due diligence of your clients? Axact apparently hires Brand Managers every year too. Care to name any “Brand” from your portfolio?Recommend

  • Aamir
    May 29, 2015 - 9:39PM

    This scam has truly been shocking, it can bring into
    question the credentials of all hardworking Pakistanis
    trying to get jobs and progress on their merit. These folks
    have no shame, their nerve to compare themselves
    to “Silicon Valley” which is ultimate meritocracy
    (one is doomed here if labelled as “a crook”). The
    operating standard in Silicon Valley is that setting aside
    actual impropriety, even the appearance of impropriety
    is a major problem. So these scammers would not even
    have a “cats whiskers” chance of surviving in SV..Recommend

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