Karachi-based Axact has come under fire from all corners after Declan Walsh of the New York Times published a detailed report exposing its multi-million dollar education scam. Citing at least five former Axact employees, the NYTimes said that the Pakistani company makes millions of dollars every year selling fake degrees and diplomas to people worldwide. It has at least 370 universities and high schools that exist only in photos stored on computer servers.
Axact attacks NYT, Express Tribune
Now Axact has issued an official statement condemning the NYTimes story as “baseless, substandard, maligning, defamatory, and based on false accusations.” The “world’s leading IT company” (by what measures? no one knows) said it would pursue strict legal action against the publication.
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Shoaib Ahmed Shaikh-led Axact claims that the NYT report was aimed at maligning its reputation ahead of the launch of its upcoming media group BOL. The company points out that the New York Times is published in Pakistan in collaboration with the Express Media Group. Axact’s BOL media outlet will compete directly with the Express Media Group and GEO/Jung group.
Axact founder paid just $0.26 in taxes last year
In its statement, Axact attacked Declan Walsh, the author of the NYT report, saying that Walsh is a Persona non-grata in Pakistan. It also accuses Walsh of hiding the conflict of interest the NYT has due to its relationship with the Express Media Group. Instead of providing specific proof to refute the NYT report, Axact’s statement largely focuses on attacking the NYT and the Express Tribune Group.
Though the NYT provides plenty of proof in its report, truth is likely to come out when the matter is dragged to court and either side proves its point. But how Axact grew from a small-time garage into the “world’s leading IT company” is still shrouded in mystery.
Interestingly, Devjyot Ghoshal of Quartz did some research and found that Axact founder Shoaib Ahmed Shaikh paid a paltry 26 Pakistani rupees ($0.26) in taxes last year. His firm that is “three times larger than any other private sector company in Pakistan” paid just $18,543 in taxes in 2014, according to the Federal Bureau of Revenue.