music to renowned producer

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music to renowned producer
Business Daily
Date: 04.03.2016
Page 15
Article size: 638 cm2
ColumnCM: 141.77
AVE: 269377.77
Whiff of ShlSOm scandal no
music to renowned producer
? GRAFT Parliament probe into missing
YEF cash thrust President's schoolmate
and popular events organiser into limelight
BY MUGAMBI MUTEGI
In the 90s, Bruce Odhiambo was renowned as
Mr Odhiambo proclaimed his inno­
the go­to music producer whose magic touch cence when the Business Daily contacted
turned all forms of lyrics into hit songs at his
him, avowing that he executed his role of a
non­executive chairman
Johari Cleff studios.
of society's privileged families.
President Uhuru Kenyatta was his
senior at the institution.
His production house, whose mantra is "a true within the precincts of good governance. He
After completing secondary school
in 1981, Mr Odhiambo joined Charles
quest for zero defect", has churned out classic al­ also lamented that the media has unprofes­
Coldham School at the Nairobi Abo­
bums such as Koffi Olomide's Ultimatum and Eric sionally painted a picture of brazen theft at
Wainaina's Kenya Only.
the fund using piecemeal information.
retum to pursue his A­level studies,
after which, due to a lack of funds,
Over the years, he has worked with the likes of
"Nobody is talking about the time I was
Les Wanyika, Mercy Myra, Jah Key Malley, K­South, given to prepare adequately...people are just
Kayamba Afrika, Kanji Mbugua and, more recently, reporting on the questions asked. Those are
with newcomers such as Sauti Sol.
reporters not journalists," he said.
'he went into the hustle'!
He moved to the Mombasa and
joined different bands including Safari
Sounds Band, kicking off his now stellar
When not in studio, the 52­year­old chairs the
According to the single father of two, any
Youth Enterprise Fund (YEF).
enquiries on supposed pilferage should be
career in the showbiz industry.
On Tuesday, he found himself dancing to the deposited at the feet of Ms Namuye since she
tune of parliamentarians who had summoned had been the YEF's "accounting officer".
him to explain how Shl80 million magically
"As far as I am concerned, I think the
(Volkswagen) inside the practice house of
Rishad Chuli took pity on me," he told the
disappeared from the State agency.
Daily Nation in an earlier interview.
Mr Odhiambo was hard­pressed to explain
former CEO should shed light on all these
"I used to sleep on the seat of a Combi
the Safari Sounds Band after band member
(accusations). She has not been called (by
He left this band in 1992 and, with tens of
how suspended chief executive Catherine Na­
muye had ended up being the sole signatory
of the fund's bank accounts, contrary to board
the MPs)," said Mr Odhiambo.
Brother B, as he is referred to by his close
friends and fellow artistes, was born in Asem­
international performances under his belt,
instructions.
bo, Siaya County, but grew up in Nairobi's
Caught between a rock and a hard place,
the acclaimed producer sang: "I acted
unilaterally in accordance with what the
management, through the chief
Eastlands at a city council housing estate.
executive officer, asked me
to do without board
He schooled at Jogoo Road
Primary School and thereafter
production work under the Johari Cleff name
without a physical location until it became a
albeit briefly.
His mother, a civil servant
full­time entity in 1998.
who has worked in the Trans­
are said to have circumvented Chase Bank's
port and Tourism ministries, was
relationship manager Jedida Kabiru, leading
convinced that a more exclusive
to the draining of millions of shillings from
school was what her first born
the YEF's account.
needed to permanently shut the
Johari is Swahili for a gemstone mined
at sea while Cleff is musical symbol used to
indicate the pitch of written notes.
door on scarcity.
the Public Investments Committee (PIC) that
the chairman sacked him for blowing the
She used up her savings to
transfer the young man to St '
whistle on the irregular transfer of Shl80
Mary's School in Nairobi when he was in Form
Two, thrusting him into an unfamiliar world
million to Quorandum Limited.
TheYEFdoesnot conduct business with
performed with several other bands even as
he honed his productions skills.
When he returned home, he was employed
at a marketing company but he also did his
joined Eastleigh High School,
approval." Ms Namuye and Mr Odhiambo
A former finance manager at the fund told
flew to Switzerland where for two years he
where he rubbed shoulders with the sons
this company, according to the dismissed
executive.
Ipsos Kenya ­ Acorn House,97 James Gichuru Road ­ Lavington ­ Nairobi ­ Kenya
Business Daily
Date: 04.03.2016
Page 15
Article size: 638 cm2
ColumnCM: 141.77
AVE: 269377.77
enterprises to enable them start businesses
and help reduce unemployment.
In 2011, Mr Odhiambo enrolled to pursue
"There was talk that the
an online sales and marketing undergraduate
degree (and subsequently masters) in India's
only reason I got the chair­
manship job was because
Mangalore University.
I was with him in the same
the 18­to­35­year age bracket, access funds at
a highly discounted interest rates.
Since its formation, the Fund has used up
The producer, who was part of The Na­
school. If that was the case, I
tional Alliance's (TNA) 2013 General Election
should be the most privileged
campaign machinery, also works as an events
of all students who went to St
organiser and media consultant.
Johari Cleff organised President Kenyat­
Mary's," he says.
ta's inauguration ceremony at Moi Interna­
tional Sports Centre, Kasarani. Mr Odhiambo
is presently the communications adviser for
the First Lady's Beyond Zero campaign.
These high profile engagements, the fact
President as "a friend just like
Mr Odhiambo describes the
he is a friend of all Kenyans" adding that the
only reason his company secured the jobs is
because he is "the best events organiser in
the country."
that he attended St Mary's with the President,
His proven track record of working with
his subsequent appointment as YEF chair­
person have ceaselessly seen Mr Odhiambo's
the youth over nearly three decades got him
the YEF job, he adds.
The noble idea was to see young people, in
billions of taxpayers' money with minimal
returns to be reported, if the many critics of
the programme are to be believed.
­ One thing the Fund has not had a scarcity
of, however, is scandals. Almost every year af­
ter its conceptualisation, the programme has
been enveloped by dishonour, a state that has
seen it play host to several CEOs and chair­
persons in its short existence.
Mr Odhiambo, who has no regrets over
name mentioned in the same
Former President Mwai Kibaki established
taking up the job, opines that the reason for
high turnover and conflict is that some of the
breath as that of the head of
the YEF in 2006 to provide loans to youth
Fund's leaders are not "pulling in the same
State.
direction".
Ipsos Kenya ­ Acorn House,97 James Gichuru Road ­ Lavington ­ Nairobi ­ Kenya
Business Daily
Date: 04.03.2016
Page 15
Article size: 638 cm2
ColumnCM: 141.77
AVE: 269377.77
Ipsos Kenya ­ Acorn House,97 James Gichuru Road ­ Lavington ­ Nairobi ­ Kenya