Exiled pro-democracy Bhutanese leader Tek Nath Rizal has accepted that he played a role in the fake Bhutanese refugees scam.
In the statement recorded with the District Government Attorney’s Office, Kathmandu—that Setopati has acquired—he has said that he knew about sending Nepali citizens as fake Bhutanese refugees in the past and had stated that he would not have any problem in that if that did not harm any genuine Bhutanese refugees.
Rizal, who was arrested on May 18, has testified in the statement that Sanu Bhandari and Keshav Dulal had set up his meeting with the then deputy prime minister Top Bahadur Rayamajhi four years back.
He has conceded that Rayamajhi and others solicited his help in sending Nepalis as fake Bhutanese refugees during the meeting and he agreed to help if the problems of Bhutanese refugees were to be permanently resolved.
“I had said that I would not have any problem with that if they would not harm Bhutanese while taking Nepalis to a third country in the name of Bhutanese, and can manage the issue by not charging money from Bhutanese,” Rizal has conceded in the statement.
He has added that Rayamajhi promised during that meeting to lobby for resumption of the perks and benefits (monthly allowance, a vehicle and a driver, according to the police) provided to him by the Nepal government earlier but stopped for two years.
He has also claimed that a few Nepalis were also sent to America and other countries along with Bhutanese refugees during the third-country resettlement program that was completed a few years back.