In 2000, six years after joining the Kenya Air Force, Julius Mwale had severe differences with the top brass in the government that his life was in danger.
He had been working with Kenya Airforce having joined the armed forces technical college for a diploma in telecommunications engineering.
Army authorities would later dismiss the reports, saying that Mwale was fired for being absent without leave (AWOL).
“It is during this training that he absented himself without leave (AWOL) on May 27, 1999 at 0800hrs. He therefore never qualified nor graduated as a radar technician nor as an aeronautical engineer as earlier claimed,” said reiterated KDF spokesman Col David Obonyo.
It is reported that Mwale enrolled for a Master’s Degree in Electrical engineering in 2003 as a “special admit at Columbia University”. It is not yet clear how he could enroll for a Master’s Degree with a Diploma certificate.
Silently, Mwale left to seek asylum in the US for nine years, after which he came back in 2009 as the President and Head of Strategy at SBA Technologies Inc, a multi-million dollar company.
In 2010, Julius Mwale announced that his company, SBA technologies, was planning to list 10 percent of its stock on the New York Stock Market, NASDAQ.
Unknown to many, before coming to Kenya, Mwale and his company SBA Technologies were taken to court in the US for failing to honour “Unconditional Agreement of Guaranty” totaling $159,000 (approximately Ksh16 million).
When he landed in Kenya, his investments were riddled with mysteries and alleged disregard of the law.
For instance, Mwale, through his company, started the Ksh200 billion Mwale Medical and Technology City project in Butere, Kakamega County.
The feasibility study alone is said to have cost USD3.9 million (Ksh400 million). The city is reported to have a planned 5,000-bed medical referral hospital, a 144-megawatt waste energy facility, a 36-hole golf resort and residences containing 1,500 rooms, and 4,800 houses.
Apart from the cost, the project raised many questions on its viability, target customers and the initial source of funding.
Also, the developer, Tumaz and Tumaz Enterprises, was at loggerheads with Kakamega County which said in 2017 that it never cleared the investor to undertake the development and accused him of violating several laws.
According to county authorities, the investor violated the Kakamega County Physical Planning Act requiring the county to control developments within its jurisdiction, Public Health Act on Housing and Sanitation, County Government Act providing a framework for county planning and the County Land Registration Act.
The county wanted to demolish the project, but Mwale moved to court and obtained orders barring the move.
Apart from the county, many locals are said to have lost big tracts of land to Mwale, who gave them empty promises of constructing both residential and rental houses for them.
Mwale engaged in an extensive media campaign, mostly involving the mainstream media who did stories profiling the project as a “gamechanger”.
Seven years since the project started with a lot of hype from the media, the project has gone cold and most of the stories done by mainstream media have been pulled down.
Also, Elisa De Panicis, an Italian Superstar and ex-girlfriend of Portuguese soccer star Christiano Ronaldo, visited the medical facility and “registered” more than 300 family members in a fully sponsored free National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF).
In February 2020, Mwale announced that MMTC will be marketed by musician Akon and that Akon’s city project will use Mwale MMTC as a benchmark of success.
As of 2019, Mwale claimed to have used Ksh19 billion to build a mall, hospital, houses, golf course, power plant,150kilometres of road and an airport within the medical facility.
Kahawa Tungu understands that what looked like paradise in the village is now fast crumbling, with a number of contractors, suppliers, traders and vendors complaining that Julius Mwale MTC owes them millions in unpaid bills.
Some claim to have been physically blocked from accessing the facility to demand payments while others are just given promissory notes, and never paid.
Bloggers, content creators and models who were hired by Mwale through a South African agency were never paid a cent, with some opting to pull down the promotional materials they had made.
The models were allegedly hired by Bianca Koyabe, a South African model.
This adds to a 2018 incident where Mwale was accused of having issued bad cheques to contractors, amounting to Ksh22 Million.
In April 2020, the Medical Centre is said to have converted the empty “Hamptons Supermarket” hall into a Covid-19 “isolation and quarantine” centre.
The empty “Hamptons Supermarket”. [PHOTO/ COURTESY]Former Bungoma governor and the current speaker for National Assembly Ken Lusaka, who had first defended the project, became a fierce defender of the project, to an extent of traveling to the US to seek financial support for it.
Former Kakamega Senator Bony Khalwalwe was also an ardent defender of Mwale, but now seems to have grown cold feet about the whole project.