Envoy and minister, contrary to PM’s aides, say she hasn’t resigned

  • Officials at Prime Minister’s Office told journalists the embattled envoy had tendered her resignation, but Pradeep Gyawali said it isn’t true
- ANIL GIRI, Kathmandu

Jan 9, 2019-

On Monday night, several publications reported that Lucky Sherpa, Nepal’s Ambassador to Australia, had been sacked by the administration following a month-long controversy over her alleged involvement in a human trafficking case.

However, Sherpa and top officials at the Foreign Ministry told the Post that she had not been sacked—nor had she resigned, contrary to some reports—and that the government has not taken a decision over the charges levelled against Sherpa.

Sherpa, who had been accused by her driver Wanghcu Sherpa of taking money to smuggle Nepalis into Australia, has been under severe pressure to resign and was summoned to Kathmandu three weeks ago from Canberra for investigation by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

After weeks of speculation, a number of media outlets, including major national dailies, reported that Sherpa had been let go following a Cabinet meeting on Monday night. 

The next morning, citing officials at the Prime Minister’s Office, several publications, including the Kathmandu Post, reported that Sherpa had been summoned by Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) Co-chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal and asked to put in her papers.

The news about Sherpa’s resignation had spread by Tuesday afternoon.

The information about Sherpa’s firing—and resignation—were spread by aides to the prime minister, including Kundan Aryal, Oli’s press adviser.

When the Post called Aryal on Tuesday afternoon to confirm the reports, he assured that Sherpa had resigned following the meeting with the two leaders.

“Yes, she submitted her resignation to the foreign minister,” Aryal said. “You can quote me.”

However, in an interview with the Post, Sherpa denied the reports and said she never met with the foreign minister.

I have not resigned from my post,” she said. “Neither was I ever summoned by the prime minister and Dahal.”

Two aides in the prime minister’s office said that Foreign Ministry officials feared that revealing her resignation would be controversial, so the news was communicated through Oli’s office.

Following several attempts to ask Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali if Sherpa had submitted her resignation to him, the Post received a text message late Tuesday. “Not so far,” Gyawali replied.   

The Post called Sherpa again after speaking with Aryal and Gyawali. “I don’t know who is spreading these rumours,” the ambassador said. “I am tired and let me say again, I have not resigned.”

Sherpa told the Post she had written three letters to the ministry regarding her driver—she has accused him of illegally depositing money in his bank accounts and stealing from the embassy—but said no one had taken up the matter with the Australian government. Sherpa said she has made a request to hold a press conference and is awaiting a word from the ministry.

“I am innocent and I will tell the press what happened in Canberra very soon,” she said.

Published: 09-01-2019 06:35

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