Mugoya Estate is a middle-class gated community in Nairobi's South C area.
James Mugoya Isabirye, a billionaire from Uganda, is the name of the estate, which is home to several maisonettes, each with its own compound. The multi-billionaire is both an engineer and a businessman.
Little is known about his parents, but he attended primary school before enrolling in Kings College Budo for his secondary education. He was born in Eastern Uganda in 1950.
Kings College is an affluent institution in Uganda, as its name would imply. Only two things could open the doors to the esteemed institution: cash and intelligence.
Mugoya later enrolled at the University of Nairobi to study engineering. As a young man in a foreign land at a time when Kenya and Uganda were not on the best of terms, he had no idea that would be the defining feature of his purple patch.
Mugoya made friends at UoN, one of whom was the son of then-Vice President and future President Daniel Arap Moi. He kept the friendship, and with it came a bag of goodies.
Following his graduation, the Ugandan tycoon established Mugoya Construction and Engineering Company Limited. Through his cordial relations with the first family, he was able to secure contracts that many engineers could only dream of.
Mugoya Construction is behind some of Nairobi's most iconic buildings, including Times Tower, the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) building, and Hazina Estate. He built Moi High School, Kabarak, Kabarak University, and the Kisumu Provincial Headquarters outside of the capital.
Mugoya was awarded a contract by NSSF in 1995 to build 265 houses in Karen, as well as an administration building, a club house, and a kindergarten. However, the project did not begin due to pending Nairobi City Council approvals.
The Ugandan Tycoon would, in 2012, receive Ksh342 million in an out-of-court settlement for the very project. He initially claimed Ksh633 million.
In 2001, he filed a Ksh1.9 billion claim against the government for a contract awarded to him in 1990 to build an annex to the Treasury Building.
Mugoya and a member of the UAE Royal Family claimed prime plots worth Ksh20 billion in 2018, on which the Hilton Upper Hill Tower is being built. They allege that the developer who owns the plot of land has encroached on and taken over at least two other adjacent plots.
His company, however, was liquidated in 2015 due to accrued debt, which included Ksh324 million in compensation paid to NSSF.
Both in Kenya and Uganda, the Ugandan billionaire has had run-ins with the law. He was accused of selling construction equipment worth Ksh3.5 billion that had been charged to a Kenyan bank.
His case, however, was dismissed on August 21, 2021.
In Uganda, a court ruled that he must answer questions about allegedly running an illegal joint real estate venture worth Ksh149 million (Ush8 billion).
However, he is still celebrated in his country. He rebuilt Bugabawe Primary School in 1994 after a student was killed when the roof collapsed during heavy rains. He demolished the school's dilapidated structures and rebuilt them from scratch.