ISLAMABAD - A local court Thursday sentenced Chief Executive Officer of Axact Shoaib Ahmed Shaikh and 22 others to seven years in jail in the Axact fake degree scam.

District and Sessions Judge Chaudhry Mumtaz Hussain announced the verdict which he had reserved after hearing arguments of all parties and awarded seven-year imprisonment to the convicts. However, the court acquitted the accused of money-laundering and electronic crimes charges.

The court also exonerated Shoaib Shaikh’s wife Ayesha Shoaib and three accused from the charges.

Shaikh and the aforementioned others will have to serve three years each under Sections 419 and 420 of Pakistan Penal Code. The court also imposed a fine of Rs0.3 million on each of them. The accused were also sentenced to seven years each under sections 468 and 471 and fined Rs1 million each.

Axact CEO Shoaib Ahmed Shaikh faced the trial afresh alongside other accused persons in fake degree scandal as an Islamabad High Court division bench had nullified the October 31, 2016 acquittal order passed by a sacked judge, due to pecuniary interests of the judge in April this year.

The IHC division bench had set aside the judgment of sacked additional district and sessions judge (ADSJ) Pervezul Qadir Memon who on October 31, 2016 had acquitted 27 ‘Axact’ fake degree scandal accused.

The dual bench also accepted Federal Investigation Agency (FIA)’s appeal for fresh trial and directed Sessions Judge (West) Islamabad to conduct fresh trial in this matter after hearing the parties.

An ADSJ Memon on October 31, 2016 had acquitted the Axact officials from the fake degree scandal and later the judge was sacked on February 15, 2018 due to his admission of receiving Rs5 million bribe for acquitting the accused persons.

Memon had made this confession before IHC departmental promotion committee comprising Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani.