By Ram Khatry
9 February 2019
In a lengthy television interview, Nepal’s former ambassador to Australia has once again blamed the chimera of an Australian permanent residency (PR) as the sole responsible factor behind her fall from grace.
“Lucky, the guy you brought turned out to be very dishonest. He has caused you lot of pain. The Australian government is with you. You will not have any more (trouble)..we are with you!” – Lucky Sherpa claimed, in an interview with Image Television, Australian authorities said so to her. The “dishonest” person she was referring to was none other than Wongchhu Sherpa, who reportedly is seeking asylum in Australia. He claims he paid the former ambassador and her husband for a position at the embassy, a claim the ex-parliamentarian vehemently denies.
According to Mrs Sherpa, Wongchhu Sherpa always had plans to apply for asylum in Australia and this became clear to her only after he left the embassy. Australian PR drives people mad and they can do anything to secure one, she said during her interview indicating that Wongchhu Sherpa orchestrated the visa fraud allegations against her so that he could stay in Australia permanently.
Mrs Sherpa claims that Wongchhu Sherpa, her former driver cum domestic help at the Embassy of Nepal in Canberra, went to a “Nepalese lawyer” and applied for asylum within “three to four months” of his leaving the premises of the Nepalese embassy. There are no offices of any Nepalese lawyer in Australia. It is possible Mrs Sherpa meant ‘Australian lawyer of Nepalese origin”.
A former well-wisher and friend to Mrs Sherpa told southasia.com.au that he was expecting a fact-based denial of the serious accusations made against her. The Australia-based Nepalese citizen mentioned that nowhere in the interview does she come up with an evidence that could refute Wongchhu Sherpa’s claims that she and her husband took tens of thousands of dollars against promises of bringing people to Australia.
“It simply shows that she has not been able to prove her innocence,” he concluded.
“The entire interview was dominated by the interviewer’s probing questions. In some instances, questions were just enough to derail her arguments of being innocent,” the former friend of the ambassador stated.
Another noted member of the Nepalese diaspora in Australia, who did not want to be named, said Mrs Sherpa at no point put pressure on the Government of Nepal to release the findings of the investigating committee formed in the wake of the human trafficking allegations.
Show me one leader in Nepal who’s not accused of something
Arguing that the “false allegations” are not going to end her career in public life, the mother of two young boys stated that there is no leader or politician in Nepal who has not been accused of at least something. Based on the interview, which turns emotionally-charged at the end, it becomes clear that the indigenous politician means to remain active in public life one way or the other. She does not need a “job” to serve people, she reminded the interviewer.
Why did the media highlight human trafficking so much?
The former ambassador criticised the media for ruining her career by highlighting and stressing on the “human trafficking” aspect of the Wongchhu imbroglio. Media stressed on human trafficking because they wanted to boost their TRP. “How can someone’s career be hit (targeted) this much?” she questioned. The media attention would however enhance her own TRP, she mockingly added.
She also said that the accuser, Wongchhu Sherpa, had been engaged in fraud activities long before she became the ambassador and that she is in touch with a number of his victims including a “senior leader’. He was so much in the fraud business that there are people in Australia today whose driving licenses were forged by him, she claimed.
So far as the audio tapes that detail her conversations with Wongchhu Sherpa about financial matters are concerned, she claimed that they were presented out of context. She claimed the former domestic help of the Embassy pinched funds given to him (by Lucky Sherpa’s family) to pay contractors building a quarter in one of her properties in Kathmandu. He recorded her calls chasing those payments, she clarified.
Do not judge me by a mere accusation
“This episode that has happened, this is only an accusation. I request you all no to carry out an analysis on me based on that accusation,” Mrs Sherpa said when asked about her future strategy vis-a-vis the allegations and her career. She said the accusation has no truth to it and challenged Wongchhu Sherpa to come up with proof of her “bank balance” or records of his bank deposits (payment made to her for the alleged human trafficking).