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Tuesday,September 22,2020 15:03 PM

American court dismisses case against UNAA

By Henry Sekanjako

Added 9th August 2019 03:27 PM

In March 2015, Musoke and Andrew Abe of Houston, Texas sued UNAA and its then Executive Committee members claiming that they were in violation of the UNAA constitution by refusing to grant them a request for a special meeting of UNAA members.

American court dismisses case against UNAA

Joseph Musoke, who lost the case against UNAA. (Courtesy photo)

In March 2015, Musoke and Andrew Abe of Houston, Texas sued UNAA and its then Executive Committee members claiming that they were in violation of the UNAA constitution by refusing to grant them a request for a special meeting of UNAA members.

The Massachusetts Superior court in the USA has dismissed with prejudice a five-year-old court case against the Ugandan North American Association (UNAA) by Oakland, California based small claims and litigation lawyer, Joseph Ssenoga Musoke.

In March 2015, Musoke and Andrew Abe of Houston, Texas sued UNAA and its then Executive Committee members claiming that they were in violation of the UNAA constitution by refusing to grant them a request for a special meeting of UNAA members.

Musoke had alleged that the purpose of the special meeting was to compel the UNAA executive to declare that the 2010 UNAA constitution was invalid because it allegedly did not meet the minimum requirements of the Massachusetts State law.

"It must be noted that none of the members of the UNAA executive that Musoke dragged to court had been on the UNAA Board of Directors at the time when the constitution was voted upon by the UNAA membership," a statement by UNAA stated.

 In its defence, UNAA noted that Musoke himself had ran as a presidential candidate under the very constitution he was opposing; albeit after losing the UNAA Presidential election. 

 In the 2013 UNAA Dallas elections, Musoke came in a distant third place in his bid for the UNAA Presidency while Abe had lost his bid for a seat on the UNAA Council.  

According to UNAA, Musoke alleged that the UNAA Executive Committee refused to allow him to inspect UNAA's books as provided for in the UNAA Constitution.

However, as part of the evidence, UNAA presented video evidence showing that the issues Musoke raised could have been resolved at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) in New Orleans on September 2015. 

"This General assembly, which had quorum, was attended by  Musoke and the video showed that he instead sat silently at the back, even after being called upon to inspect the books by the then UNAA President, Brian Kwesiga," read the statement.  

Dismissing the case, Judge Janice W. Howe found that none of the respondents had violated the UNAA Constitution as alleged in the lawsuit. 

The judge also acknowledged  the evidence confirming that UNAA's books including federal and state income tax returns and its annual and quarterly financial reports, had been made publicly available on UNAA's website. 

In her judgment, Judge Howe, also observed that the communication between members of the UNAA Executive and  Musoke where he acknowledged being asked to inspect UNAA's contracts in San Diego, New Orleans, and Boston. For example, the court was shown messages which showed that at the UNAA convention in Boston,  Musoke chose to walk away from an opportunity to examine the books.

In delivering the judgment, the Judge advised UNAA's counsel Galen Hair to file a motion for recovery of costs amounting to US$ 50,000 (sh184.5m) incurred from the plaintiffs who in addition to  Musoke include Andrew Lakoich Abe of Houston, Texas; and others.

According to the statement, Musoke preferred to let the court case drag on for almost five years, costing both sides tens of thousands of dollars, wasting precious time and sending police-sheriffs to storm some of the respondents' homes to deliver the summons. 

 On its part, UNAA argued that even if the 2010 UNAA constitution was to be invalidated, Musoke still did not meet the requirements for calling a special meeting under the old constitution that he wanted the association to revert to.

 The court accented to this and in response, Musoke argued that Massachusetts State law required a lower threshold than the old UNAA constitution called for.  

 Court, however, found that when the UNAA leadership filed its amended 2010 Constitution and bylaws with the Massachusetts Secretary of State, and they were accepted by that office, this effectively nullified the lower State threshold upon which  Musoke was basing his case. 

Musoke served briefly as the Secretary of the UNAA Electoral Commission for the 2011 elections held in Denver, Colorado before he abruptly resigned after disagreeing with fellow commissioners Monday Atigo, UNAA's current President who succeeded him as the secretary of the UNAA Electoral Commission for the 2011 election.  

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