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Top accountant set to be first Budget controller

By | Published Sat, August 27th 2011 at 00:00, Updated Sat, August 27th 2011 at 00:00 GMT +3

By LUKE ANAMI

 

A nominee for a new constitutional office Agnes Nangila Odhiambo detests  shortcuts and failure.

Hard work, prayer and obedience are virtues she upholds as she assumes the position Controller of Budget.

“The first thing I do after waking up is pray. I am about to go for adoration at the Holy Family Basilica chapel this afternoon to thank God for identifying me out of the 157 applicants for the post of Controller of Budget,” Ms Odhiambo said, when The Standard On Saturday visited her Constituency Development Fund office at Harambee Plaza on Uhuru Highway.

The top student in her primary school, secondary school and university, Anyesi, as Ms Odhiambo is fondly referred back home in Budalang’i, always wanted to be the best.

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Controller of Budget  nominee Agnes Nangila Odhiambo. Hardwork, prayer and obedience are virtues she espouses.  [PHOTO: JENNIFER WACHIE/STANDARD]

 “Those days girls were expected to learn by assisting their mothers with household chores. It was those little tasks that made me what I am today,” she quips.

Her Dad, Andreya Ochumbo, died when she was very young. But her mother, Peris Ochumbo, did her best to raise her up with the assistance of relatives.

 

Mother’s blessings

When she was old enough to go to school, her mother, through the assistance of the Catholic Church, encouraged her education.

“When I joined Nangina Primary School, very few people back home expected me to top the class in 1970,” Ms Odhiambo, a mother of three recounted, one hour after her nomination to the post of Controller of Budget.

As a girl, Ms Odhiambo had an idea of what she wanted to be. A staunch Catholic, who grew up in Sio Port in Ababu Namwamba’s constituency of Budalang’i, she always seeks her mother’s blessings before embarking on any task.

 She was the top student at Misikhu Girls High School and Bishop Gatimu School in ‘O’ and ‘A’ level exams.

“I sat for my ‘O’ levels in 1974 and passed with Division One and proceeded to Ngandu High School for Form Five and Six where I topped the class with three principals and one subsidiary pass to join the university,” she said.

Even though she had majored in History, Divinity (religious studies) and English Literature, she opted to study for a Bachelor of Commerce, Accounting option, a mathematics-oriented course.

“I was good in maths and biology and I could settle for either an arts or science course,” she said.

Some of her classmates at the University of Nairobi in the 1970s include John Njiraini, Commissioner for Domestic tax, who was also interviewed for the post, and Sammy Onyango of Deloitte and Touché.

Here again, Odhiambo excelled becoming the first female student to graduate with a first class honours degree in Bachelor of Commerce, Accounting option.

“My first job was as an accountant at Delloitte and Touché but lasted only three months as I was awarded a scholarship to study for an MBA at the University of Nairobi in 1981,” Odhiambo said.

While she worked on her Masters, she also undertook Certified Public Accountant course (CPA). “I did my CPA and I qualified within two years,” she explained. She later joined BAT Kenya as an assistant accountant but later returned to Delloitte as a financial accountant in 1984.

In October 1998 she left Delloitte to join Unga Limited as a managing accountant, where she was promoted to the position Finance manager of Unga Feeds, a subsidiary company of Unga group.

“I began management of assets when I was appointed to run the ChesterHouse property wing of Unga Group. Later I joined Metro Cash and Carry in September 1998,” she explained.

 

Submitted last

An accomplished finance professional with over 25 years progressive experience in roles of increasing responsibility, Odhiambo was ready for top management position. “In 2003, I became Finance Director in charge of Metro Cash and Carry and Unga Ltd and in 2005 I left to join Post Bank as a Finance Administrator, “she said.

In  2009 she was appointed the Chief Executive Officer for the Constituency Development Fund.

“I applied for the position following encouragement from my husband. In fact my application was among the last ones to be submitted.

“At CDF the challenge has been the management of funds at the committee level. Decisions made and the accounting procedures are wanting in many constituencies,” the nominee for Controller of Budget explains.

She hopes to turn things around by developing IT systems that can assist in proper record keeping and transparent accounting procedures.  “As Controller of Budget, my office will be charged with presenting reports to Parliament quarterly.

The controller must also ensure that the law is followed in the administration of devolved funds something that calls for the development of proper account reporting procedures,” she added.

The challenges facing her include ensuring that funds for national and county governments are well used.

Ms Odhiambo is married to Ezra Odhiambo, a businessman.


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