US paper raises questions about the future of Axact case
‘Aaj Shahzeb Khanzada Kay Sath’
KARACHI: The Axact case is assuming the shape of an enigma, said Shahzeb Khanzada on Geo News programme ‘Aaj Shahzeb Khanzada Kay Sath” on Monday. Now it has transpired that the owners of Axact too had many offshore companies.
Shahzeb said that the case is really becoming an enigma. Consider the fact that though the FIA has said that it has all the evidence, yet prosecutors after prosecutors and lawyers after lawyers have been disassociating themselves from the case. Not only that, but judges too have been declining hearing the case.
Besides prosecutor Zahid Jamil, others, namely, Shahab Asto, Haq Nawaz Talpur and Salahuddin Jhandapur have also dissociated themselves from the case, and now there is no prosecutor in the case, said Shahzeb Khanzada.
Moreover, nine judges have so far heard the case, and four out of them after hearing the arguments have dissociated themselves from the case having said “Not before me”.
Shahzeb said that he had been keeping the audience informed by sharing information with them in successive episodes of “Aaj Shahzeb Khanzada Kay Sath”. He said that he had informed his audience through the programme how Axact sold fake degrees and how Axact people used to dupe the foreigners after assuming fictitious names. Not only foreigners but some Pakistanis have also been deceived.
“We did inform you about the case in which one Pakistani was deceived,” said Shahzeb. Now The New York Times has claimed that Axact owns many offshore companies. These companies are under the ownership of Shoaib Shaikh or his relatives. The correspondence between Pakistani and US officials also reveal the fact that there are offshore companies of Shoaib Shaikh and Waqas Atiq. “We also possess documents in this regard, and you can see these documents on your screens,” Shahzeb told the audience.
“US officials informed the FIA on 8 February this year that Axact has formed shell companies all over the world, the very offshore companies about which about 250 Pakistanis are being held suspect. US authorities told the FIA that Axact has many such companies all over the world. The US authorities are informing through the correspondence that Axact has three primary shell companies in USA, namely, Mivvel, Tullow and Tinko, and according to American documents, executives of Axact based in Pakistan are the owners of these companies or the few people present in USA,” said Shahzeb.
The document says that Axact CEO, Waqas Atiq, owns Mivvel, and he owns 49 percent shares, and he has himself confessed it. The chief of Axact, Shoaib Shaikh, owns 49 percent shares in Tullow and Tinko, and he too has confessed it.
Shoaib Shaikh and Waqas Atiq submitted a statement in a US court on 22 February this year in which Shoaib Shaikh stated that he is the director of the two companies. Also on 22 February, Axact CEO Waqas Atiq also submitted in a confessional statement that he is the director of Mivvel, and this sworn statement was submitted in the US court.
It is interesting to note that Shoaib Shaikh used the pseudonym “Ryan Jones” in running these companies. According to the New York Times news item, Shoaib Shaikh had obtained foreign citizenship for these companies.
One can easily know the huge extent of this scandal. The victims of this scandal are not only found in Pakistan but in 197 other countries, in other words more than half the globe. The figure of the victims of Axact is 200,000 people in Pakistan and in the 197 countries.
The news item also tells us that in the year when this fraud was unearthed, Axact sold fake degrees worth Rs9 billion. The finance minister of Myanmar is one of the victims of these fake degrees. He has confessed to the New York Times that he is one of the victims and that he has purchased the fake degree from Axact.
What a strange case, one wonders. The world is abuzz with the scandal. The New York Times is reporting that Axact executives too have offshore companies, and yet lawyers in Pakistan have been dissociating themselves from the case while judges are saying “Not before me”.
One also wonders if this is also the kind of a case in which if you happen to be influential and wealthy, you will manage to hoodwink the law and get away with all the charges in a case which has shamed Pakistan before the world.