The Independent Voluntary Committee working to Resolve the Dispute within the United Bong County Associations in the Americas (UBCAA) has released its findings, calling on all citizens to unite, work and move the institution forward.
The committee, which was chaired by Dr. Emmanuel K. Urey-Yarkpawolo, in its report, implicated the board of the associations, but with several recommendations.
Presenting the final report to the general members of the UBCAA recently at a major press conference in Monrovia, Dr. John Flomo, Director General of the Liberia Agricultural Commodity Regulatory Authority (LACRA) and a member of the committee said the implication of the board is based on the association’s “involvement” in the dispute.
“On August 26, 2021, the Board of the UBCAA made a public statement quoting article VIII, Amendment #27 of the constitution that gives them the power to handle disputes within the UBCAA and asked the public not to cooperate with our Committee. Even though the Board was right that it has the litigation powers and is responsible to settle disputes within the UBCAA, the problem is that as our investigation has demonstrated, the Board is clearly implicated with the current electoral dispute within the UBCAA. Based on their involvement in the dispute, they have lost their independence to handle the current dispute within the UBCAA”, Dr. Flomo disclosed.
The dispute in the association started a few months later but was not noticed until Dr. Emmanuel K. Urey-Yarkpawolo attended the UBCAA “convention” in Minnesota from July 16-18, 2021.
“This report is the result of the work of this Committee. The Committee comprises reputable individuals, whose only objective is to see one united UBCAA. Findings, analyses and recommendations are based on facts gathered from July to October 2021. We are asking all those that will read this report to put aside their personal biases and read the report with independent minds,” Dr. Flomo said.
It can be recalled that during the early morning of the Business Meeting of the “convention”, Mr. Christian Richardson, the National Treasurer of the UBCAA while making the financial report informed the meeting participants that there was a parallel “convention” taking place in Pennsylvania (PA) and requested that the “convention” should not conduct an election.
Mr. Richardson was told by the National President, Mr Samuel Sondah, that he should focus on his financial report; an instruction that raised a red flag right. And when it was time for the electoral process of the organization, the Election Commission indicated that there was no quorum as the constitution of the UBCAA mandates.
In addition to the electoral dispute, Dr. Flomo said, two other issues came out during our investigation. The first was that an underlying issue causing the electoral dispute was that one individual in the person of former President David Flomo wants the UBCAA to be a 501(c)(4) (see 4.13) organization and this was the reason why he was backing the George Toto group, adding that, “Our committee did not see merit in this issue as the UBCAA is a 501(c)(3) organization (see section 2 of the UBCAA Revised and Adopted Constitution) and we did not see evidence of this argument in our investigation.”
Furthermore, the Election Commission was dismissed, an ad-hoc Election Commission was instituted, and an election was held in which Caimon Joe Kollie and his team were all elected on white ballots.
On the same day, there was information that other Bong County Citizens were gathering in Philadelphia, hosting a parallel convention and conducting elections, which also resulted in two separate UBCAAs being established with each group claiming to be the legitimate leaders of the UBCAA based on Constitutional provisions.
Based on the Independent committee investigation they came up with a four-count resolution. In its resolution, the committee recommended that the two elections be cancelled and Caimon Kollie and George Toto should cease to exercise constitutional powers.
The group also recommended that an interim leadership be appointed inclusive of board members and executive members with a consensus of the UBCAA chapter leaders to stir the affairs of the UBCAA for one year. If recommendation #2 is accepted, the committee wants the acting president further that the interim leadership conduct a free, fair and transparent election within 12 months as of the date of the establishment of the interim leadership.
Among other things, the committee recommended that if counts 1-3 are not possible, the UBCAA membership through the chapter leadership and or eminent citizens from Bong County should convene a meeting to find alternative solutions.