Former Mumias boss Otolo forms own audit company

Former Mumias Sugar boss Coutts Otolo has set up his own auditing and accounting firm and has already bagged a Nairobi-bourse listed company as his client.

Mr Otolo is now chief executive of Parker Randall Eastern Africa and has even poached Olympia Capital from Crowe Horwath where he was previously a partner but fell out with his associates.

The career accountant was appointed acting managing director of Mumias in June 2014 for a one-year period, following the acrimonious sacking of chief executive Peter Kebati and commercial director Paul Murgor over alleged fraud.

He was succeeded by Australian Errol Johnston who previously headed the troubled sugar miller between 1998 and 2001.

“We had an issue with the local partner and we decided to move out,” said Mr Otolo in an interview with Business Daily. He disclosed that the company also undertakes risk and compliance for listed agricultural firm Sasini.

Mr Otolo’s firm is an affiliate of London-based Parker Randall, a mid-tier audit, accounting and consulting firm that has entered the local market for the first time through the partnership with the former Mumias CEO.

Mr Otolo exited Crowe Horwath together with Victor Majani who is now the partner in charge of assurance.

Olympia Capital shareholders at the AGM held on October 17 appointed Parker Randall Eastern Africa as the auditors of the investment company.
The company was previously audited by Crowe Horwath, which earned Sh4.03 million in audit fees for the year ended February 2014.

Mr Otolo’s erstwhile partner Erastus Omolo confirmed the break-up of Crowe Horwath East Africa but maintained there was no loss of clients or revenue.

“Our revenues were not affected at all,” said Mr Omolo, the managing partner at Horwath Erastus and Co (the local affiliate of New York-based Crowe Howarth International).

Mr Otolo, a chartered accountant, holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Nairobi where he graduated in 1977 and straightaway joined Ernst and Young as a trainee.

He rose through the ranks to serve as chief executive of Ernst and Young Eastern Africa in 2002.

Mr Otolo teamed up with Mr Omolo, Cephas Osoro and Victor Majani and in 2009 set up the local unit of Crowe Horwath.

His move to set up his own consulting practice follows in the footsteps of other Kenyan executives who have set up businesses in competition with their former employers.

In 2011, former Deloitte CEO Daniel Ndonye and John Maonga, a former partner at Livingstone Associates, an affiliate of Deloitte, teamed up to form Maonga Ndonye Associates – a company which provides corporate compliance and records.

The new outfit has grown to rival Deloitte, emerging as one of the biggest players in offering secretarial services to companies listed on the Nairobi bourse.

Former Centum executive David Owino quit his job to form Ascent Capital, a PE fund targeting small and mid-sized businesses.

Paul Kavuma was previously a director and head of East Africa private equity at Actis before he established investment fund Catalyst Principal Partners.