LONDON: The British government said Sunday that it would support a criminal investigation into Pakistan company Axact, which is being probed for orchestrating a million-dollar scam selling fake academic degrees online.
A Home Office spokesperson said today that it would support “any criminal investigation into the production of false degree certification” if a request is made by the government of Pakistan.
In an investigative report published by the New York Times last week, Axact, which claims to be the world’s largest IT company, was accused running of a ‘fake degree mill’ believed to have issued tens of thousands of bogus diplomas online. Suspicions have grown that several people in the UK may have also been given similar fake qualifications by the company.
A UK Home Office spokesman said that the UK authorities will help Pakistan “with the assistance of the relevant authorities” into the false degrees scandal that has rocked the world.
The Pakistani government has not yet made any request for assistance but will look into the case if a request is made.
The spokesman explained in the interview that the current British government initiated a massive crackdown against bogus educational institutions back in 2010 to ensure that abuse of the system is stopped.
“The student immigration system inherited in 2010 was open to widespread abuse. In its place, the (British) government is building an immigration system that works in the national interest by attracting the brightest and the best to study and work in top universities and good jobs,” he said.
The Home Office spokesman expressed determination that the conman and fraudsters doing business in the name of education will not be tolerated.
He added: “The Government will not allow bogus colleges to cheat the rules and we have closed down more than 850 of these organisations since 2010. We will continue curbing abuse, being more robust with institutions that have high rates of students overstaying and looking to toughen English language requirements for students”.
The British government’s offer comes a day after Pakistan’s Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan announced that his ministry would contact US agency Federal Bureau of Intelligence (FBI) and the Interpol for assistance in the Axact scandal in the next two days.