By Ram Khatry
11 February 2019
Wongchhu Sherpa, the man responsible for bringing a bitter end to the ambassadorial stint of Lucky Sherpa, has contested his former boss’s claim that a “Nepalese lawyer” prompted him to apply for asylum in Australia.
Speaking to southasia.com.au, the former domestic help at the Embassy of Nepal in Canberra said that his lawyer since day one has been an Australian lawyer – an Australian who is not of Nepalese origin. He also mentioned that the lawyer was arranged by local authorities in Canberra.
Wongchhu Sherpa stated that officers from the concerned Federal agencies were waiting for him at a pre-determined location on 21 November 2017 after it was decided that he should leave the embassy premises for the sake of his own “safety”.
The only time he ever went to a “Nepalese lawyer” was when he met with Shamser Thapa, a Sydney-based solicitor. He went to see Dr Thapa in order to seek guidance on matters related to the legal system in Nepal where his wife remains jailed on foreign employment-related charges, he clarified. “I went to him to discuss how we can get my wife out (of jail). After all, my wife has not done anything wrong,” he deplored. He said he was advised by the Australian authorities overseeing his case to find a legal professional who was familiar with the Nepalese legal system so that he could access legal advice about his wife. They apparently told him that they could not “interfere” in Nepal’s internal matters. It was then that he had an appointment with Shamser Thapa and Associates, Mr Sherpa explained.
Wongchhu Sherpa claimed that no Nepalese-origin legal professional in Australia ever had any access to information about his current visa or the ongoing processes.
Speaking to Kathmandu-based Image Television, Lucky Sherpa had earlier asserted that an Australia-based Nepalese lawyer had helped him apply for a protection visa. According to the former ambassador, 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 Wongchhu Sherpa orchestrated the visa fraud allegations against her so that he could stay in Australia permanently.
Wongchhu Sherpa, on the other hand, claims his total ignorance about the Australian visa system let alone visa that would guarantee him “protection” or “asylum”.
“I did not even know what protection visa was. My lawyer himself did it,” he said during the telephone conversation with southasia.com.au. The statement about his lack of knowledge of the Australian visa system is in contrast to what Lucky Sherpa has been claiming, that he was cunning right from the beginning and that his allegations of human trafficking were part of his plan to obtain permanent residency in Australia.
Mr Sherpa also categorically denied that he was used by Australian Nepalese associated with various political parties back in Nepal to harm Lucky Sherpa’s reputation and career. He said he has never been associated with any political parties and neither is he in touch with any community leaders in Australia.
Following the “rescue”, Mr Sherpa said he lived in hotels for few months. “Now I have a job as well as my own place, sir. Once I got a job, I also went and cancelled my Centrelink (benefits),” he said.
The former embassy driver has also blamed the ex-ambassador of making him go through “Arab-like” situation by confiscating his passport immediately after his arrival in Australia. He likened his case to that of Nepalese women whose passports are confiscated by their employers as soon as they arrive in Gulf countries. “It was a very shameful situation, sir,” he exclaimed.