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Government begins probe into allegation against envoy Sherpa

- Narayan Khadka, Australia

Dec 6, 2018-

Nepal government has directed its Canberra-based embassy in Australia to probe into the allegation against Nepali Ambassador to Australia Lucky Sherpa levelled by her former employee.

Lucky Sherpa’s driver Wongchhu Sherpa has accused Ambassador Sherpa and her husband of trafficking Nepali citizens to Australia in a recent television interview.

In a statement on Tuesday, the main opposition Nepali Congress (NC) had demanded the government conduct a fair investigation against Sherpa against the backdrop of allegation that she was involved in human trafficking.

Nepali people living in Australia have also been demanding through social media sites that the government should probe into the allegation against Sherpa at the earliest.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has written a letter to the Embassy, directing to appraise the facts about the accusation against Sherpa pronto.

“The letter states the Ministry is familiar with the accusation against the Nepali Ambassador to Australia for the past few days and directed the Embassy to inform about the truth behind the issue,” a source said.

Ambassador Sherpa said that she would report about the ground reality and answer the questions raised by the Ministry regarding the incident.

During a conversation with a journalist of Kantipur Publications, Wongchhu accused Lucky and her husband of trafficking Nepali citizens to Australia.

Though he claimed that he had saved the telephonic conversation with Ambassador Sherpa to prove his allegation of human trafficking against her, he could not present the evidence.

Claiming that he has evidences, Wongchhu said that as the case is sub-judice in Australia he could not provide all the evidences now.

Out of some documents provided by Wongchhu, one document shows that Ambassador Sherpa’s husband Sonam had lent Rs 6.4 million to Wongchhu for four years. But the document is only signed by Wongchhu and doesn’t have the signature of Sonam.

Refuting the allegation, Ambassador Sherpa has been claiming that the paper is forged.

“All the documents showed by Wongchhu are bogus,” she said. It has been learnt that Ambassador Sherpa had taken Wongchhu to Australia as an orderly and she had also tried to take his wife Phulamu to Australia in the same manner. Phulamu is in Nepal’s jail on a fraud charge.

A day after the allegation against envoy Sherpa, the Embassy of Nepal issued a press release claiming that the accused Wongchhu Sherpa was someone, who was on the run since 29 November, 2017. He had allegedly made off with valuables from the envoy’s residence.

The ambassador has been denying the allegations, but leaders from the ruling Nepal Communist Party and the opposition Nepali Congress have demanded a probe against her. The government, too, has sought an explanation from Ambassador Sherpa.

Foreign Secretary Shankar Das Bairagi told the Post on Wednesday that Ambassador Sherpa had yet to present her explanation.  

Soon after Ambassador Sherpa left for Canberra to take up her assignment in May, 2017, Wongchhu had accompanied her from Kathmandu.

According to the officials privy to the development, Wongchhu served two months as domestic help and five months as a driver to the ambassador, and during his short stint serving Ambassador Sherpa, he was always inquiring about or looking for permanent residence facilities in Australia.

Singapore police is also said to have communicated the Australian police after the former tracked the transfer of Rs 1.2 million from a person working in Australia with the surname Sherpa.

Wongchhu was reportedly removed from the job at the embassy after the Australian authorities contacted the Nepali Embassy in Canberra to inquire about the money.

The embassy had also notified the Australian police and the INTERPOL about Wongchhu before announcing that he had been terminated from his job.

Wongchhu had later secured the protective visa. It is not clear how he managed to get the visa, said an official at the Foreign Ministry.

ALSO READ: Government seeks explanations from Ambassador Sherpa

Published: 06-12-2018 16:35

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