The Institute of Certified Public Accountants (CPAU) lost one of its gallant members, Amos Bagumire, who suddenly succumbed to the COVID-19 pandemic. At the time of his passing, Amos was the Managing Partner at ABS Consulting Group Ltd a company he co-founded 8 years ago specializing in Governance, Risk Advisory, Human Resources, Forensic Audit, and Executive Development.
Before starting his own company, Amos was a Director at Ernst & Young in charge of Business Risk Services and Human Resource Advisory Services in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Ethiopia. He had over 20 years’ experience in Governance, Audit, Risk Advisory, and Human Resource Management.
Before joining Ernst & Young, Amos was a Director of a European Union Project EDF Micro projects program entrusted with the overall direction and management of the 20 million Euros- European Development Fund implemented in over 25 Districts in Uganda. He organized, coordinated, supervised, and administered the personnel and the resources of the Programme in line with the relevant provisions of the Rome Convention, Cotonou Agreement, and MPP Financing Agreements. Amos had also worked with KPMG and Fountain Publishers.
Amos was a regular panelist, presenter, and resource person at ICPAU events and had recently made a presentation at the institute’s annual conference that took place on 25th – 27th November 2020, where he spoke on the topic, “The Role of Boards of Directors during the COVID-19 Pandemic & Beyond.”
However, his health deteriorated after his talk. That was his last public appearance.
In recognition of his contribution to the Accountancy profession, the Institute celebrated his life on 14th December 2020, at 4:00 pm to 5:20 pm via zoom. A few selected colleagues and friends, who worked closely with the late spoke about him. I captured some of their memories about the late below.
Dorothy Kiyaga, former Accountancy classmate
In the early 1990s, I attended Multi-tech accountancy college, with Amos Bagumire. At the time, the school would offer part-time evening classes to accommodate employed students. However, there were those students who were not employed and would spend the whole day at the college until the evening when classes began. Amos was one of them.
In those years, there were limited reading materials for CPA Kenya. A few copies would be available with limited scope, as they would not cover the course curriculum. We would look everywhere in vain and those we found were voluminous. In absence of good libraries, bookshops and of course no Internet, it was not easy to find relevant reading materials. The likes of Amos would lead us in evening group discussions or weekends. The CPA course was the most difficult one. If you failed one paper, you fail all papers. Amos was among the bright students. And also, a strategist. He became very close to administrators. I remember Mrs. Kalenzi and other lecturers. Immediately, they identified his skill and offered him a job as a lecturer when he was still a student.
He would have break teatime with the lecturers even before they had appointed. And there is where we can trace his boardroom traits. Amos was always very smart both in the brain and appearance.
He once told us an encounter that changed the course of his career choice. He said, one time during an audit assignment, the auditee cautioned him that “Young man, what your handling is sensitive. If you insist on your report, you will not see it tomorrow. Then he said, indeed he did not go back.”
And that is when he switched to human resources consulting and corporate governance, in which he had developed a lot of expertise. Amos was a man of the people who believed in teamwork.
This is a message to Amos: “Amos you couldn’t have fought more for good corporate governance as you did at your last brilliant, honest and passionate presentation at the annual ICPAU seminar that took place on 25th November 2020. You will forever be remembered by the entire CPA Kenya alumni who saw you at your extremely energetic state. You will forever be missed.”
Geoffrey Byamugisha, Partner EY worked with Amos at Ernst & Young.
Amos joined joined EY, a year after I had joined. Amos was quickly appointed the staff manager at EY. He was a down to earth person, loved by everybody right from the cleaners to the top executives.
Amos was a close friend of so many executives. He had a way of connecting with everybody. During the days, when Mr. Muhaise was at the helm at EY, we were always referred to as the trinity – JMB – the father, Amos the holy spirit, and I as the son. Amos loved the profession. To him being a CPA, was outstanding. He had a trait of being a close friend with every client he served. He was very knowledgeable and innovative. He was a great trainer and always found solutions in every situation.
He started as an accomplished auditor. Then became an HR expert and then a corporate governance expert. Amos was the first one in the whole of EY to receive the EY award from London.
Aside from work, Amos was a great friend. He was one of those who would stand by you no matter what. I remember four years ago, just when I got promoted to my new role as Country Managing Partner at EY. The firm got into challenges with the Bank of Uganda. This was the lowest point in my career and for the firm. The firm lost so many major clients. But Amos was the man who was by my side. He was a spokesman for us. Calling up clients and answering issues, keep in mind, he had left the firm running his own, ABS Consulting. Amos was the first one I always consulted.
Amos and I, we are both Golfers, we played together. Even when we were drawn to play in a different team, we usually found a way to change the draw and play together. I remember when he met his wife Naomi. He told me how he had met the most beautiful wife and that he planned to marry her. And it came to pass. Amos loved his wife and children. His family will always miss him. Of course, when it came to my turn, to get married, I also had to tell him.
Let me conclude by telling you about his sickness. Actually, after his presentation at ICPAU, when the day ended, he told me he was not feeling well. The following day, he could not attend. On Wednesday, he told me that it had worsened. He was going to the hospital. On Thursday we went to see him. And we found him feeling fair, with his trademark smile. He even signed a document. However, later on, we were called that his condition had worsened and needed to be transferred to intensive care. It is unfortunate that the COVID-19 he talked about Boards being prepared for, took him suddenly.
He was sincere. He had a belief that everyone is good unless proved otherwise. Amos was a friend I always called first to laugh. He is the person with whom I shared every secret and believed it was safe. Amos’s death was sudden, but his life was not failed. His memory will always be with us. And his legacy will continue to be with us. Amos has left a wife and four children, one girl and three boys.
I miss my friend so dearly, but I am so great for having known him.
Moses Ssebugwawo, Director of ABS Consulting
I first met Amos in 1999. Amos had joined EY from KPMG and was my supervisor. In 2007, we were both appointed to head departments in EY. Amos was heading the risk management division while I headed the forensic department. On our many travels around the region, Amos conceived a good idea and confided in me that he would like to start a firm and that I would be a good partner to work with him
And being the young man, then, I did not immediately accept. However, after a few weeks, I was open to the idea. In 2011, we decided to put in our resignation in EY and started ABS Consulting. We also convinced another colleague of ours and started ABS Consulting in October 2011. That is how we started. We have worked with Amos not only in ABS Consulting but also in EY. It is an honor to say something about Amos who I have known for a long.
I want to talk about Amos’ love for his clients. We at ABS Consulting, are going to miss Amos’ relationships with clients. For Amos, it was not only about money. He was very close to his clients that they had no option but to return to him whenever they needed a piece of work to be done.
Those who know Amos know that he was so good at building relationships. He was empathetic. At his funeral on Friday, many of his clients came to bid him farewell. He was a great business partner anyone would have loved to have. Amos kept in constant touch and became a good advisor. And we thank those clients for the relationship they had with Amos.
Amos had a lot of love for the staff he worked with. I know Geoffrey has talked about his people skills at EY. Amos had a very good working relationship with his staff. He knew and understood the word team. Many of the staff here are traumatized. Amos was their mentor. He loved to get to know his staff. He knew everybody’s interests. Amos would not hesitate to throw a party at his home and invite us. He would even prefer to sit with his staff at his desk to get the work done. Amos had that rare friendliness and charm of a personality. He was a likable boss. We are going to miss Amos greatly at ABS.
We moved with Amos everywhere that ABS had to do an assignment. One of the fascinating things I found about Amos is that he wanted to exceed expectations. In the several pieces of training we have done with clients, Amos would get you interested straight away. He would engage and grab your attention. Our clients liked listening to Amos. He was very engaging to his audience and he would tell stories.
One story that Amos always told, is about Amin and his cabinet discussing how to beat Americans who had just gone to the moon. And Amos would tell it in a way that Amin said if they do not have anything to advise him, they should tell him to go to the Sun! Such stories were great.
I will greatly miss Amos. He is the first man I greet in the morning. And the last man I said bye in the evening. ABS is going to miss a very great man.
May Amos’s soul rest in eternal peace.
John Muhaise-Bikalemesa, former Partner, Ernst & Young
I want to thank all the CPAs who have supported Amos. That you to Moses and Geoffrey, who made sure he was given a decent burial in Kinoni Mbarara. Amos was a colleague and a promoter. Amos has been important in my life’s journey.
Recently when he was at Entebbe, I called him to arrange a meeting to arrange our plans. We met and agreed on what to do. Amos, you have left without this meeting being acted upon. Amos had a good spirit for making things happen. It took me a lot of time to convince Amos, Geoffrey, and Moses, and Sandra to play Golf. I took them to Kawanda and told them you must hit 300 balls. After that, they started playing Golf. And became better players.
Amos would make a gloomy situation lively.
In this world, we are visitors, we must be prepared to leave anytime. During the same function, someone asked: why Amos? But then we are also told that God does not only take only bad people. He needs great people. I am sure Amos is fine beside God.
I came across Amos when I was searching for people with a great mindset. Brilliant people. And Amos did not disappoint. One time when I fell sick, I was always concerned, but Amos always gave me comfort that do not worry, we shall run the office. And they did run the office. So, it was painful when I recovered and returned to the office, Amos and Moses left. But that is life.
May His Soul Rest in Eternal Peace.
Copyright Mustapha B Mugisa, 2020. All rights reserved.