Government Challenges Acquittal Of AXACT Officials In Fraud Case
ISLAMABAD: The Deputy Director of the Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) Cyber Crime Circle issued a petition to the Islamabad High Court challenging the decision of Additional District and Sessions Judge Pervaizul Qadir Memon, who, on 30th October 2016, acquitted 27 officials of AXACT Company.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of AXACT, Shoaib Sheikh and his wife Ayesha Shoaib, along with 25 others were nominated as respondents in the case. The appeal by FIA was lodged under Section 417 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), against the judge’s past ruling. AXACT had previously been charged under Sections 419, 420, 468, 471, 473, 109/34 and Section 4 of Anti-Money Laundering Act 2010 for the provision of fake degrees of online educational institutions that had fraudulent authorization and were tempting students under the false pretense of being renowned student counselors within Pakistan and abroad. The company also demanded that its clients pay extra on account of the fake attestation and accreditation that the company was going to provide through governmental bodies and personnel.
Relying on Section 417 of the CrPC, FIA lodged its petition and subsequently gave its reasoning on why the appeal was necessary. The case first hit mainstream media on May 19, 2015 when the FIA raided the AXACT DHA office and interrogated the employees who were present. The petitioner claimed that statements collected from some of AXACT employees demonstrated that their counselors were frauds who represented themselves as highly educated individuals but from fictitious educational institutes. Furthermore, the petitioner alleged that these statements also provided proof that the clients were manipulated and coerced into paying large sums of fees into the company’s offshore accounts.
The petitioners also reasoned against the trial court’s proceedings. In their view, the prosecution’s oral evidence was ignored on inadequate grounds, evidence in the form of documents was disregarded and benefit of doubt was extended to the defendants despite the aforementioned evidence being solid proof. The petitioners concluded by pleading to the court to overrule Judge Pervaizul Qadir Memon’s judgment and convict the respondents.
The court directed that the matter will be heard after two weeks where the question of whether the appeal could be filed after a passage of 30 days will be addressed.
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