By Ram Khatry
30 March 2019
Their progressive rise in the BRW Rich List prompted southasia.com.au back in 2017 to suggest Shesh Ghale and Jamuna Gurung could soon be joining Australia’s billionaire club.
It was a well-informed assumption, backed by rigorously-verified data from the trusted publisher of wealthiest Australian names. That assumption has just turned into a reality as The List, produced by The Australian, has included Mr and Mrs Ghale as the 85th and 86th richest persons in the country.
With their combined wealth at $1.1 billion, the Nepal-born tycoons have just officially entered the “club”.
Since 2012 alone, the philanthropist couple have added an unbelievable $845 million to their net worth. In other words, the soft-spoken business leader and his cut-to-the-chase-mate wife have increased their combined portfolio astronomically to $1.1 billion this year from the $255 million they were valued at back in 2012.
The Ghales debuted in the BRW Rich List in 2009.
BRW Rich 200 List had put their joint portfolio at $647 million in 2017. Within a year, the former global president of the Non-Resident Nepali Association (NRNA) and his better-half added some $229 million to be ranked Australia’s 81st richest worth $876 million.
Both Mr and Mrs Ghale are originally from Nepal’s mountainous region, known for its world famous picturesque trekking routes. That’s where their time-tested romance and marriage were engineered, a la Nepali style – arranged for by their respected elders.
The solid foundation of MIT Group’s success, which the couple jointly founded in early 1990s, hinges on their mutually complementing personalities. Mr Ghale is the soft-spoken, personable business leader who knows when to take risks – a winning skill honed by decades of practice in risk-taking. Jamuna Gurung, on the other hand, in the words of her husband, is “good at details” who would not beat around the bush to let you know when you’ve not performed up to the scratch. She is the sort of person who is capable of staring into the whites of your eyes and let you know that “you are wrong”, if you are wrong. That is perhaps why Mr Ghale has, in numerous interviews, indicated that their role within the empire of MIT Group is clearly demarcated with either of them keeping clear of each other’s responsibility zones.
In the aftermath of the 2015 Nepal earthquake, Mr and Mrs Ghale were so personally involved in rebuilding efforts of the earthquake-ravished country that they were away from their Melbourne headquarters for extended periods of time. However, despite the challenges, the couple continued travelling to and spending time at Laprak Village in Nepal’s Gorkha District, not far from the ground zero of the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that claimed thousands of lives.
The project to build 573 modern homes for the earthquake survivors, initiated when Mr Ghale was the president of the global body, is now in the hands of his successor leadership of the NRNA.
Despite the philanthropic deviation, Mr Ghale had no regret. “When you lose focus and are not on the ground, lots of things and opportunities you miss but no regrets at all,” the CEO of the MIT Group said in a 2017 interview with southasia.com.au, “Definitely since April 2015 both of us spent majority of time in Nepal. Although our relief work was impeccable, reconstruction efforts have not yet produced desired outcomes but we are trying our best.” He calls the time spent in building the Laprak Model Village “a great trade off” and a steep learning curve on philanthropic endeavours under Nepalese circumstances.
The inaugural edition of The List, made public today by The Weekend Australian, includes 250 wealthiest Australians. Cardboard box and recycling magnate Anthony Pratt ($13.14 billion) tops the list while Hancock Prospecting’s Gina Rinehart ($13.12 billion) has been ranked second and property magnate Harry Triguboff ($12.31 billion) the third.
The maiden issue of The List includes 96 billionaires and 154 millionaires – the biggest rich list ever produced in Australia.