JAMES Abiam Mugoya Isabiyre was charged in a Nairobi court yesterday with fraudulent disposition of mortgaged goods. The Ugandan, who appeared before chief magistrate Christrine Meoli, denied the charges.
However, his application for bond was deferred to Monday by the magistrate who ordered Mugoya to be remanded at the Kileleshwa police station.
Mugoyaâ€™s lawyer, David Njogu, had applied for his client to be released on bond but senior principal state counsel, Vincent Wahoro, opposed the move requesting for time to prepare his reasons.
Mugoya is charged with intent to defraud Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) by removing mortgaged construction machines worth KSh3.5b (Ush87.5b) without the consent of the mortgagee. He allegedly committed the offence between September 1, 2006 and January 2, 2007 at Mugoya Construction and Engineering Company Limited go-downs at Embakasi, Nairobi.
Gichuki Kingâ€™ara, who is representing Mugoya on civil matters, said he would apply for the dismissal of the case since his client was not arraigned in court within 24 hours as stipulated by the laws of Kenya. Kingâ€™ara said Mugoya was arrested on Wednesday at 7:00pm, meaning that he spent over 36 hours in police custody before appearing in court. This was in contravention of his rights.
On Thursday, five activists detained by police for participating in a protest against MPsâ€™ huge send-off perks were freed by the high court because the state had detained them for more than 24 hours.
Uganda expects Kenya to extradite Mugoya to face fraud charges.
Who is James Isabirye Mugoya?
By Vision reporter
The arrest of James Abiam Mugoya Isabirye by Police in Nairobi represents continued descent of a Ugandan entrepreneur who got juicy deals during the reign of Daniel arap Moi. Mugoya, an engineer, went to Kings College Budo, before going to Kenya, where he received university education and became a multi-billion shilling entrepreneur.
Mugoya is believed to have struck a friendship with Moiâ€™s son at university. He reportedly had easy access to State House in Nairobi. His Mugoya Construction Company won lucrative contracts, allegedly under the influence of Moi. Kabarak University and Kabarak High School that is owned by Moi, Times Tower (Kenyaâ€™s tallest building with 36 storeys), the National Social Security Fund building, Hazina Estate and the Kisumu Provincial Headquarters, that is yet to be formally opened, were all constructed by Mugoyaâ€™s company.
Mugoyaâ€™s interests spread to parastatals like Kenya Commercial Bank, Telkom, the Department of Defence and Central Bank.
â€œIt was a political-cum-business marriage that appeared to have been made in heaven,â€ said one former top aide of Moi. â€œMugoya was Moi and Moi was Mugoya,â€ renowned journalist Ibrahim Oruko added.
Although immensely rich, Mugoya was averse to ostentatious living preferring simple but decent clothes and driving in simple cars. His favourite was an aged Peugeot 505 registration series KAB. He was so elusive that for long, media houses in Kenya and Uganda failed to get his photos.
Mugoyaâ€™s fortunes have been dwindling since the NARC government of Mwai Kibaki came to power in January 2003. With just a few days into power, the NARC government cancelled two road contracts that Mugoya Construction Company had been awarded under the Moi regime.
Mugoya suffered another setback when his company, together with six others, were blacklisted and asked to refund Ksh308m by a ministerial committee that was set up by then roads minister and now opposition bigwig, Raila Odinga.
Last year, Kenya Commercial Bank placed Mugoyaâ€™s company under receivership, claiming over Ksh3b, having appointed Adrian Spencer as receiver manager to pursue the debt. The bank staff moved into the companyâ€™s Embakasi premises and stripped it bare. All stock in trade and all movable assets were also confiscated.
And last month, the Police in Kenya placed an advertisement in a local media wanting any person with information as to Isabiryeâ€™s whereabouts to contact the police. A generous award awaited anybody with information leading to his whereabouts and arrests. The announcement yielded fruits on Wednesday evening when Mugoya was arrested in Nairobi.
As Mugoya was nabbed in Nairobi, the Ugandan government made it known that he was expected to answer other charges back home. Mugoya is wanted in Uganda for allegedly giving a $340,000 bribe to the former National Social Security Fund (NSSF) managing director, Leonard Mpuuma, to influence the award of a contract to him.
Uganda expects Kenya to extradite Mugoya to face the law in Uganda as well. Since he can not face trial in two countries at once, he is likely to face the law in Kenya first, then he returns for the same in Uganda.
Place of birth: Bulubandi village, Iganga
Education: Bulyansime Primary School; Iganga Boys Primary School; Kiira College, Butiki; Kings College Budo and Nairobi University.
Major Projects undertaken by Mugoya
Kyambogo new examination headquaters: Funded by the Ministry of Education
Entebbe International Airport: Funded by the Civil Aviation Authority
Shoprite Checkers shopping centre: project completed in November 2000
Primary Teachersâ€™ College: Funded by the Ministry of Education to a tune of $933,000
Re-gravelling of roads in eastern Uganda: Funded by the Ministry of Works, Housing & Communication
Construction of 11 no reinforced composite bridges: Funded by the European Union
Refurbishment of Sheraton Hotel Kampala: Funded by the Golden Leaves Hotels and Resorts
If anyone has a picture of Isabirye Mugoya, please bring it to The New Vision head office at Plot19/21 First Street Industrial Area
Tycoon Mugoya charged in Nairobi