Shoaib Sheikh can be seen in handcuffs, on March 9, 2023. — Geo News

Shoaib Shaikh can be seen in handcuffs, on March 9, 2023. — Geo News
  • Shoaib Shaikh gave Rs5 million bribe to a judge.
  • Judge later confessed he had received the bribe.
  • FIA had summoned Axact CEO on February 15.

ISLAMABAD: The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on Thursday arrested Shoaib Shaikh, owner of a private television channel and chief executive of Axact, for allegedly giving Rs5 million as a bribe to then-additional district and sessions judge Pervaizul Qadir Memon for getting acquittal in a fake degree case.

FIA spokesperson said the businessman was arrested by the agency’s anti-corruption circle in the federal capital. The agency said the suspect had paid a bribe for acquittal in the case registered against him under the fake degree scam in Islamabad’s cybercrime circle.

The FIA spokesperson added that the agency has started investigating Shaikh following his arrest. The judge, too, was nominated in the case against Shaikh, the FIA said.

The FIA, on February 15, 2023, summoned the Axact chief in connection with the bribe case. Shaikh, however, did not appear before the probe team.  

Memon had acquitted Shaikh, chief executive officer (CEO) of Axact — the company that made billions of dollars by selling fake degrees worldwide — and others in fake degrees scam on October 31, 2016. Later, the judge was sacked on February 15, 2018, by the Islamabad High Court (IHC) as he confessed before a departmental promotion committee that he had received the bribe for acquitting the accused.

The IHC division bench in April 2018 had set aside the October 31, 2016 acquittal order passed by Memon.

Meanwhile, a case had been filed against the CEO of Axact under the Pakistan Penal Code and the Anti-Bribery Act with the FIA at the request of the IHC registrar.

Bol chairman turns out to be ‘defaulter’ of FBR

A Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) document, available with Geo News, revealed that Shaikh did not pay his tax dues worth over Rs146 million. The penalty is not included in the amount, it added.

In its notice, the FBR asked the bank manager, “The taxpayer has not paid the said amount in time, therefore, under the provisions of section 140 of the Income Tax Ordinance, 2001 you are required to attach immediately all Pak Rupee Bank Account(s) of the taxpayers, being maintained in your bank against above mentioned CNICs # and business names and remit or send the money to the undersigned through pay order/D. Draft or through banking transfer or cheque for payment to the government treasury under Income Tax head of account immediately after service of this notice upon you.”

Fake degree scam

The Axact fake degree scam case surfaced after the New York Times published an expose in May 2015 claiming that the company sold fake degrees and diplomas online by scamming students through several fictitious schools.

Umair Hamid, a senior employee at Shaikh’s company, pleaded guilty before an American court after being arrested in the United States in 2016. He was charged for his role in the scam worth millions of dollars.

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