College director says taking action against Axact linked website
LONDON: The director of a Manchester college — ‘West London College of Business Management’ — says his college’s name was wrongly used to issue fake degrees through a fraud website run by Axact.
AbdurRazzaq, Director of the college, said the official website of his college was www.wlcb-man.com while the Axact run website www.wlcbonline.com had nothing to do with his college. Mr. Razzaq issued a clarification after The News exposed on 27th May 2015 that the West London College of Business Management (www.wlcbonline.com), based in Manchester on Stockport Road, Levenshulme was issuing fake degrees to students with help from Axact office in Karachi despite the fact that its Tier 4 Sponsor status had been revoked on April 6, 2015.
AbdurRazzaq agreed that www.wlcbonline.com was using the address, name and content of his college but stressed that it had been plagiarised and had nothing to do with his own “genuine” college.
His website carries colourful pictures, including one featuring Dr Babar Awan. It says on the home pages: “Dr Babar Awan, ex-federal law minister of Pakistan visits West London College of Business and Management Sciences and addresses students.”
Mr. Razzaq accepted that his own college sponsor’s licence was revoked by the Home Office in 2012 and its Tier 4 Sponsor status was revoked on 6 April 2015. He told The News: “I can confirm that the website www.wlcbonline.com is a fraudulent website which does not in any shape or form represent our organisation.
We can also confirm that as soon as we became aware of the website after the exposure by the media we took steps and reported this to the relevant authorities. We are not aware as to how long this website may have been running for. We are seeking legal advice regarding damages from the individuals responsible in plagiarising our website. We are also endeavouring to get the website closed by reporting it to the relevant I.P address origins.”
When questioned further, AbdurRazzaq said initial inquiries suggested that the IP address of www.wlcbonline.com originates from America and a “private tab” has been placed on. Another source in the college told The News that the website was being managed from Karachi and IPs were changed regularly.
An Axact employee had disclosed that www.wlcbonline.com was being managed by Axact employees in Karachi and degrees and diplomas had been issued to hundreds of students in the UK. He said two British Pakistani businessmen, linked with the same college, had established links with Axact who were involved in the business of fake degrees.
He said the bosses at the Axact knew that the UK Home Office had become aware of the fraudulent activities that’s why action was taken against the college.The source said that Axact often boasted to customers about www.wlcbonline.com and gave its address of the UK to customers.
The New York Times expose of the fake degrees scandal revealed that the Axact operated more than 370 websites globally and all of them existed only on web and didn’t have a physical address. When contacted by The News, the college owners initially didn’t have an answer and issued conflicting statements.
A spokesman for the Home Office advised students to check and double check the educational institutions promising to provide education. He said that the UK government maintains a list of all educational institutions which operate legitimately and anyone not checking the veracity of these institutions was responsible for the consequences.
Speaking to The News, a British Foreign Office official said the UK takes any accusation of criminal activity seriously.She said any request for cooperation or assistance in a criminal investigation in Pakistan is a matter for the relevant law enforcement agencies to consider in the UK.