Axact CEO Shoaib Sheikh could be imprisoned again: CJP

Axact CEO Shoaib Sheikh could be imprisoned again: CJP

ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar on Monday said Axact CEO Shoaib Sheikh may face imprisonment once again if he fails to deposit Rs100 million in the Supreme Court.

The CJP while heading a three-judge bench hearing the Axact fake degree case ordered that all cases pertaining to the Axact fake degree case be wrapped up within two months and that the company deposits Rs100 million in the apex court within 10 days as overdue payment for Bol’s former employees.

“If the company fails to deposit Rs100 million in the Supreme Court within 10 days, then the company head, Shoaib Sheikh, will have to face the consequences and may even be imprisoned again,” the CJP said.

Justice Nisar also questioned which cases pertaining to Axact are pending and in which courts and whether Shoaib Sheikh has been granted bail in all cases.

Responding to the CJP, DG FIA said that Sheikh has been granted bail in all cases and is not cooperating in the trial against him as he does not appear before court.

To this, the CJP resmarked that if Sheikh does not cooperate then his bail should be cancelled.

Justice Nisar further summoned all details pertaining to the Axact fake degree case.

He also questioned, “What is the estimated amount that the company has to pay in salaries to Bol’s former employees.”

To this, Axact’s counsel informed the court that the employees claim the company owes them Rs300 million.

Justice Nisar remarked that he gave them one month to resolve the matter and appear before court.

However, Bol CEO Faisal Aziz Khan told the court that Salman Iqbal took over the news channel soon after it was struck by crisis. “Salman Iqbal owes the salaries for two months and not us,” he said.

Axact’s counsel further informed the apex court, “It will be difficult for us to deposit Rs100 miilion.”

“The court can keep some property or anything else as guarantee,” the counsel suggested.

However, the CJP remarked that raising the money should not be a difficult task for the company. “You only have to sell two degrees,” Justice Nisar said. 

The hearing of the case has been adjourned for the next 10 days.

The Axact scandal surfaced in May 2015, when The New York Times published a report had claimed the company sold fake diplomas and degrees online through hundreds of fictitious schools, making “tens of millions of dollars annually”.

The FIA had then filed a plea against the acquittal of Shaikh in 2016 in a money laundering case, arguing that he was exonerated from the charges by the trial court despite strong evidence that proved his involvement in money laundering.

According to the FIA, Shaikh is involved in an illegal transfer of Rs170.17 million to a Dubai-based firm, Chanda Exchange Company, in April 2014.