The Dubai-based office of Axact — the Pakistani company involved in a fake degree scandal — is registered and “active,” according to the Dubai Technology and Media Free Zone Authority (DTMFZA).
Registration details of Axact FZ LLC show that it is registered as a consultancy.
Gulf News visited the office on Thursday and was told that while it is still officially open, no employees appear to have ever worked in the office.
When contacted, DTMFZA, the authority that issues licences to companies in Dubai free zones, said the Pakistani company has only one office that is located in Dubai Internet City, building number three.
However, the only company found under the name Axact FZ-LLC, was located in business centre three, in Thuraya 2 building, in Dubai Media City.
Gulf News visited the centre on the sixth floor of the building, which is managed by Tecom Investments and found that Axact FZ –LLC was nothing but a tiny empty room with one table and two chairs.
According to people working at the business centre, no one has ever visited or worked in the office.
“They never come here,” one worker told Gulf News.
A security guard said he had never seen anyone in the office in all the years he has worked in the centre. The Axact scandal surfaced this week after a New York Times report revealed that Pakistani IT company, Axact, operates more than 300 fake online universities from its headquarters in Karachi, making tens of millions of dollars a year by selling fake degrees to people around the world.
Documents obtained by Gulf News shows that of the 600,000 Axact shares, one is held by Shoaib Shaikh, CEO and owner of Axact and another one is held by his wife, Ayesha, while the remaining 599,998 shares are owned by Axact FZ LLC in Dubai.
Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) raided the firm’s offices in Pakistan, confiscated computers and secured data this week. It also held employees for questioning.
Kamran Atta Allah, deputy director of FIA, said that required data has been collected from the company’s office to be examined by a forensic team.
FIA sources say a decision about whether to extend the probe to the Axact office in Dubai and approach the UAE authorities will be taken after completing the investigation under way in Pakistan.
An official at the Pakistan Consulate in Dubai told Gulf News that they are also looking into the matter and will approach the UAE authorities as soon as they get a request from the FIA back home.
The Revenue Board of Pakistan has also asked the company to provide details of its contract with Axact FZ LLC in Dubai.
Yasir Jamshaid, the former Axact employee who exposed the Axact scandal, called on the authorities concerned to investigate Axact’s Dubai-based company, adding that he is willing to share information that can help the investigation.
Gulf News contacted Tecom authorities, but a response was not immediately available as of press time.
By Noor Nazzal
© Al Nisr Publishing LLC 2019. All rights reserved.