By John Agaba
Members of the defunct Eagles Production band are in trouble after music promoter Balaam Barugahara dragged them to court demanding over sh320m in damages.
The astute businessman has filed a suit blocking them in their new establishments from performing at any concerts, unless they reconstitute and perform at earlier agreed-upon events, or pay him over sh320m in damages. The case is up for hearing today at Nakawa Court.
In his suit, Barugahara, who has also threatened to attach the group leaders’ property, says he paid them sh108m to perform at 14 events meant to take place over the Easter period throughout May, 2014.
However, the group, one of Uganda’s most celebrated bands, dissolved a month ago over money issues, an indicator they might not perform at the said events.
Eagles’ Production leader Geofrey Lutaaya, whom Barugahara says penned the deal and received the said money on the company’s behalf, has since formed another group – The New Eagles, along with his wife Irene Namatovu.
The other key members, led by Mesach Semakula and Ronald Mayinja, have also formed a counter group – Golden Band.
But Barugahara, in his suit, is asking court to block either group from performing unless his conditions are met.
“I am not against anyone of the members because I have worked with all of them before. All I want is that they agree and work for me, according to the agreement we signed,” said Barugahara in a telephone interview.
“I paid these guys and they decided to move and form other companies. That is not how companies are dissolved,” he said.
On Monday, Nakawa Court deputy registrar Gladys Nakibule issued an order blocking the band members from performing and/or announcing their various upcoming concerts.
She, however, gave them Wednesday (today) to appear in court over the matter.
In a stern warning Barugahara said if the impasse is not resolved soon the claim would spiral to over sh600m at which point he will be forced to take over their properties including Lutaaya’s hotel in Najjanankumbi and Mayinja’s in Bunamwaya.
Lawyer Gilbert Nuwagaba, said: “Companies are dissolved according to the Insolvency Act 2011. The Act shows the procedure to dissolve a company. But these people just ran away and formed parallel companies. Their companies are valid. But Eagles Production as of old still exists.”
“It is a process called winding up a company. All the debtors and creditors have to be cleared, and matters regarding the company solved before it closes. URA (Uganda Revenue Authority) too has to be notified in case of unpaid taxes.”
In response, however, Semakula said Lutaaya alone was responsible for penning the deal and he should be held accountable, alone. “That was a personal deal. You cannot commit Semakula to go to Lutayaa’s launch. The deal was personal,” he said.
“In our memorandum of understanding (Eagles Production), you were supposed to have two directors signing on behalf of the company, not one; if not, one director and the company secretary. But Latayaa signed alone.”
In what he called a ‘foil plan’ by Barugahara and Lutaaya to sabotage them (Golden Band), Semakula questioned the possibility of court issuing an order blocking their performances on the day they were issues summons to court over the same issue.
“I am not used to court things. But I am wondering how it is possible court ordered us not to perform on the same day we got the summons. We got the summons to appear in court on Monday 14.
The same day, court gave released an order blocking us from performing at any concert,” Semakula said.
He, however, said they would abide by the courts’ summons and appear in court (today).
Semakula and his new group have a number of performances over the Easter Season. If the courts order is to stand, Semakula said, “We would definitely lose a lot of money.”
Like Semakula, Musa Kavuma, the Golden Band Managing Director, said Balaam was working with Lutaaya to sabotage them.
He said their intention was to dupe their fans that Golden Band would not be performing over the Easter season so they don’t get any people. Golden Band is compsed of the following members:
Ronald Mayinja, Mesach Ssemakula, Maureen Nantume, Catherine Kusasira, Stecia Mayinja, Fred Sserugga, Grace Semwogerere, Grace Sekamatte, Doreen Mutibwa, Nsamba Trumpet and Hk Moses
Former Eagles Production bosses dragged to court