2 December 2018: A simple skype call from Australia to the most popular television show in Nepal has pushed ambassadorial career of Lucky Sherpa into a danger zone.
Speaking to Rabi Lamichhane whose electrifying performance on live television is a nightmare to the corrupt and crook of the South Asian nation, one Wongchhu Sherpa levelled human trafficking allegations against Ambassador Sherpa, the head of Nepal mission in Canberra.
Speaking over a bad telephone line, Nepal’s foreign minister Pradeep Gyawali told southasia.com.au that he had nothing to say on the matter at this stage and that Kathmandu was only “looking at it” for now.
During the November 29 live show, Wongchhu Sherpa claimed that he initially paid more than 3 million rupees to the ambassador and agreed to pay over 6 million rupees (approximately A$70,000) in total. He also claimed that he collected similar illicit funds from other people on behalf of the ambassador and her husband – against promises of Australian visa. Mr Sherpa himself was to work as a domestic worker at the embassy resident, it is understood.
A day after the first allegations were made, the Embassy of Nepal issued a press release which labelled Wongchhu Sherpa as someone who was on the run since 29 November 2017. He had made away with valuables from the envoy’s residence, the press release said.
Denying all allegations made against the ambassador and her family, the embassy has assured that further facts about the matter would surface in due course of time.
A last year’s letter from the embassy to Nepal’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs is also currently floating around social media. Signed by the then counsellor Rajendra Pandey, the letter requested the ministry to take necessary actions so that Australian Federal Police could access information through Interpol about Wongchhu Sherpa’s alleged fraud activities in Singapore and Nepal.
However, Australian Nepalis have questioned the press release which was not signed by anyone in particular (no signatory name). Bikram Timilsina from Brisbane for one posted a Facebook status asking how what the ambassador does in private could be the embassy’s business and as such, how the embassy itself could issue a press release denying Wongchhu Sherpa’s allegations.
In his follow-up appearance on Sidha Kura Janata Sanga, Wongchhu Sherpa clarified that he was not absconding. In fact, he told Mr Lamichhane, he was on a protection visa with full work rights and that the AFP itself apparently told him, “You are not safe here (at the embassy).”
Sidha Kura Janata Sanga, the programme hosted by Mr Lamichhane, has since followed up on the initial claim made by Wongchhu Sherpa. In a YouTube video , the firebrand broadcast journalist is seen surrounded by half a dozen men and women who claimed they paid various amounts to Wongchhu Sherpa. The latter, on the other hand, repeatedly claimed that those funds were to go to Her Excellency Sherpa and her husband.
The southasia.com.au contacted the envoy for comments on the allegations but was told she was currently in Sydney for a pre-arranged commitment.
In the meantime, a Central Committee Member of Nepal Communist Party has asked the government to recall Ambassador Sherpa. “She should be immediately dismissed and brought under the sphere of legal actions,” Bishnu Rijal said in a Facebook post on Sunday.
This news article was edited for clarity and additional information 3.12.18 AEST 10.10 am