Axact’s Official Response to New York Times’ Article
The New York Times Allegations
Yesterday, The New York Times published a detailed report on educational websites offering fake online degrees and alleged Pakistani company, Axact as the mastermind behind the scam. According to the report, Axact generates tens of millions of dollars in revenue through selling fake academic degrees via 370 websites which portray to be an American educational institute.
According to the report, former employees of Axact confirmed that telephone sales agents work around the clock to deal with shady customers who pay for fake degrees or manipulate innocent people who are seeking for real education. These sale agents often impersonate American government officials to show authenticity and boost profits. Most of the professors and students in promotional videos are actors who have made repeated appearance in ads of different schools. Moreover, the article said that Axact employees plant fictional reports about the fake Axact universities on a CNN citizen journalism section, iReport.
The New York Times report added that the estimated revenues of several million dollars per month are cycled through a network of offshore companies. It said that proxy Internet services, legal tactics and lack of regulation in Pakistan has helped Axact in setting up this fake educational empire.
Axact has denied all accusations and submitted a letter through a lawyer to The New York Times for reporting half-cooked stories and conspiracy theories. Below is their official response.
Axact has for the first time gone ahead to respond to the allegations of a story that has been making rounds on the internet today. Here is what Axact has to say.
“Axact condemns this story as baseless, substandard, maligning, defamatory and based on false accusations and merely a figment of imagination published without taking the company’s point of view. Axact will be pursuing strict legal action against the publications and those involved.”
Axact further said in their response,
“It is clarified that NYT in Pakistan is partnered with Express Media Group to publish Express Tribune in Pakistan and receive earning from the group. Express Group was under a restraining order and contempt of court proceedings by Sind High Court for publishing a defamatory news item and further from publishing anything detrimental to Axact’s reputation. (Click here to view the courts restraining order). Hence Express Media Group to counter the success of BOL and to circumvent the court order has got this story published via its partner NYT in collaboration with some reporter called Declan Walsh.
It should also be noted that a few months back in a registered criminal case by Axact for Data Theft (Criminal case No.561/2015), Police investigations led to Mr. Sultan Lakhani as the ultimate hidden owner of that company involved in Data theft of Axact and other IT companies and his name was included in the interim police Challan. (Click here to see the police challan mentioning Sultan Lakhani). After which Mr. Sultan also tried to transfer the investigations to another Police department of his choice but on 12th May 2015 that transfer was also suspended by Sind High Court and the criminal investigation again started against Mr. Sultan Lakhani. (Click here to view the request for transfer,transfer order and court order suspending the transfer).
The story is authored by some reporter Declan Walsh of NYT who was expelled from Pakistan as Persona non-grata by Pakistan Interior Ministry allegedly due to his involvement in damaging Pakistan’s national interests. This reporter has worked and devised a one-sided story without taking any input from the company. A last-minute, haphazard elusive email was sent to the company demanding an immediate response by the next day to which the attorney for Axact responded. Click here to view the response.
Moreover, this reporter has not mentioned the conflict of interest which the NYT has due to its association with Express Media as its revenue source in Pakistan. This necessary disclosure regarding the criminal cases on NYT Partner in Pakistan was deliberately omitted and is an injustice to the reader not expected of a publication like NYT.
In an exemplary display of poor journalistic skills and yellow journalism, the writer quoted references from several imaginary employees to corroborate accusations made out of thin air. None of these accusations have been substantiated with any real proof. Search engines have been used to type ‘fake degrees’ and whatever images have turned up have been portrayed as evidence. Additionally, no proof has been given linking any of these sites and allegations to Axact and widely recognized names such as that of John Kerry have been used to increase the impact of the story. In fact the writer himself admits that when he approached these universities, they denied having any links with Axact.
One aspect that stands very clear from all this is that a personal grudge has been displayed by the writer. Parallels laded with negativity have been drawn with the portrayal of positive Pakistan and also including references to the Silicon Valley as if offering world-class facilities to employees is something that we should be ashamed about when it is our pride. This reminds us of the story made by Forbes against NYT reporters of publishing false stories.
For information on Axact Education Unit, it is hereby clarified that Axact provides a comprehensive education management system that benefits diverse bodies of students and caters to all types of educational institutions—online and traditional. It is a 360 degree solution for students and faculty around the globe, available on multiple educational platforms being its core capability. For details on this, click here.
Furthermore, Axact’s Online Education Management System is World’s Leader outside North America. And Axact is now collaborating with other renowned education groups in the USA to provide its Education Management System and is poised to be a major player in the online education industry of USA by 2018.
All ten business units of Axact are completely legitimate, legal and committed to enhancing the quality of IT services across the world.
From the very first day of announcement of BOL, certain elements have started campaigning against Axact and BOL. The GEO/Jang group and Express Media Group being direct competitors of BOL (brought by Axact) have started a defamation campaign and other criminal pursuits since last 2 years accusing BOL of belonging to multiple groups, sometimes establishment, sometimes a real estate tycoon and sometimes other controversial personalities and were coining all kind of conspiracy theories. Now they have planned this story in collaboration with this reporter as evident from the fact that within less than 60 seconds of the publishing of this article, these media outlets started spreading this maligning campaign via different means. It is also come to our notice that they are planning with other foreign media groups to publish this story with different angles.
It should be noted that the announcement of BOL as a positive and pro-Pakistan channel in Pakistan who cares for its employees has shaken these traditional media houses who have promoted hatred, despair, negativity and hopelessness in Pakistan. Axact and BOL have vigorously pursued these elements that are desperate to malign BOL and Axact.
BOL has addressed this in the past and the following link on its website gives details of these defamation and other criminal activities and how Axact and BOL have addressed these legally.”
See also: [Infographic] AXACT: Major past activities leading to fake degree scam