On October 31st I received multiple messages the case against Axact CEO Shoaib Ahmed Shaikh was dismissed by a District and Session Judge in Pakistan (Court acquits Axact boss in fake degree case). The Axact chief was exposed in a Spring 2015 article by the New York Times that detailed the inner workings of a diploma scam which included the creation of over 300 fictitious educational institutions and accreditation agencies. The diploma mills generated for its owners hundred’s of millions of dollars by selling fake degrees to individuals worldwide and especially in the GCC.
Bogus universities have been a subject area I have been following for quite sometime in the US and in the MENA region. I contacted and assisted in early 2015 Al Fanar and The National about another bogus university in which both papers published stories. On May 26th, 2015 I wrote an article on my blog called Call for Action: Shut Down Diploma Mills, which focused on how many people in the GCC have a degree from an Axact bogus university posted on their LinkedIn profile. A number of publications re-printed my article or conducted follow-up stories. In addition many other papers have written on the subject including Gulf News and Emirates 24\7. I thought the diploma mill companies led by Axact had been exposed and after the raid the Pakistan justice system would convict these perpetrators, I was wrong.
I was contacted by a person who had been duped earlier into enroling of one of the bogus schools. This individual sent me a message on October 23rd, which said: ” “am not sure whether you remember me. I think that the education scammers are back. Had phone calls on different occasions. If you reply to this mail, can supply you with the numbers.”
On October 31st, I received from this person an email he/she received:
Paramount California University is one of the Axact bogus schools and I had thought the raids in Pakistan shut them down along with 300+ others sites. I went to the website to see if they and another Axact bogus school, Nixon University were still operating. Here is what I found:
What can we do about these companies who by their actions are hurting education throughout the GCC, doing harm to companies who hire these grads and hurting the reputation of legitimate universities worldwide who have quality online degrees? I recommend the federal agencies in the GCC to consider the following actions:
- Take a very aggressive stand in letting the public know these companies are still operating
- The appropriate government agencies in the GCC coordinate a plan of action to turn off and shut down such diploma mills
- Dismiss or not hire any person who shows on their Cv or public record they have a degree from an identified bogus school
- Block the Internet addresses of any identified bogus school
While the Axact scandal is not as critical as war/peace, and reducing poverty, the education of the nation’s citizens is vital for business and society. Governments spend anywhere from 15-25% of their GNP to provide legitimate education to its citizens. I had hoped in 2015 the Pakistan raid on Axact and the arrest of the CEO would put this group and others like them out of business. Unfortunately the alleged leader is now free and it appears the justice system failed in getting a conviction. It now up to other governments worldwide to take action.