KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Monday approved the Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) appeal against the acquittal of CEO Shoaib Shaikh and others accused in the Axact money laundering case.
A division bench of the SHC, headed by Justice Naimatullah Phulpoto, was hearing an appeal filed by the FIA against the acquittal of the Axact chief in a case pertaining to illegal transfer of Rs170.17 million to a Dubai-based firm, Chanda Exchange Company, in April 2014.
The two-member SHC bench sent the case to the trial court for further proceedings.
Session court ordered to charge accused
The sessions court was earlier ordered to charge the accused persons and wrap up the case within three months.
The court ordered Axact’s CEO Shoaib Shaikh and others accused in the case to appear before the trial court on March 3.
The accused include, Chanda Exchange Company’s Muhammad Younis and Junaid, who allegedly received 170 million rupees through 116 cheques.
Shoaib Shaikh’s arrest expected
FIA Officials have said that Shaikh is likely to be arrested since he is not on bail, however, the defendant’s lawyer has said that the court hasn’t ordered their client’s arrest.
The Axact CEO’s legal counsel has requested the court to grant a three-day protective bail. The verdict is expected to be announced at 2pm today.
According to information obtained by Geo News, FIA officials have been deployed outside the Sindh High Court premises where the hearing is underway.
The Axact scandal surfaced in May 2015, when The New York Times published a report had claimed the company sold fake diplomas and degrees online through hundreds of fictitious schools, making “tens of millions of dollars annually”.
The FIA had then filed a plea against the acquittal of Shaikh in 2016 in a money laundering case, arguing that he was exonerated from the charges by the trial court despite strong evidence that proved his involvement in money laundering.