Zahir Sheikh

Zahir Sheikh

Partner - Risk Advisory, Internal Audit and Forensics

Manufacturing & Distribution | Financial Services | Not for Profit | Natural Resources & Energy | Infrastructure & Transport | Real Estate & Hospitality

Corporate Recovery | Information Technology Consultancy | Risk Advisory | HRM Consultancy

Executive summary

Zahir Sheikh has over 37 years of professional experience as an advisor to leading businesses in East Africa. Since 2022 he’s been at BDO East Africa as a Partner in charge of Risk Advisory, Internal Audit, Forensic Services, Sustainability (ESG) Services, and Data Privacy Services, with responsibility for the East African region, covering Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Ethiopia. Before that, he spent 7 years in the UK running a successful consulting practice and motor trade business. And prior to that, for 24 years, he was the Regional Partner responsible for Financial Advisory Services in KPMG in Eastern Africa, working primarily in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. Due to the nature of services, he also worked in various countries such as Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan, Mozambique, Somalia, South Africa, Zambia, United Kingdom and United Arab Emirates.

Zahir is considered a market leader in his chosen fields. He established the first forensic practice in Kenya in 2000 and oversaw its growth to a team of 25 full-time forensic specialists in the East Africa region. He established the Kenya Chapter of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners and was its first Chairman. Additionally, Zahir has 11 years CEO and Director-Level commercial experience where he managed a diverse range of companies in receivership as Receiver Manager. As such he has hands on experience managing and turnaround ailing businesses in diverse sectors such as banking and finance, hotels and leisure, agriculture and floriculture – including tea, coffee, sisal, flowers, natural resources such as oil and petroleum, manufacture – including steel, clinkers, timber, furniture, trading, import and export businesses, real estate, automobiles, securities, supermarkets, and so on.

As the partner overseeing the forensic services business unit across the region, Zahir has been involved in managing large and complex investigations, providing expert testimony in court, testing and designing internal control systems, arbitrating disputes, providing proactive fraud management services, asset tracing, anti-money laundering, ethics and integrity building programs, fraud surveys, training courses in fraud risk and corporate governance. Zahir has advised under-performing businesses as well as lenders in restructuring and business turnaround, independent business reviews, strategy workshops, training on credit control, risk management, tracking assets, company monitoring and preparation of cash flow projections.

Zahir worked in the audit business unit for 4 years and was responsible for the statutory audits of diverse sectors amongst them an oil refinery, banks, manufacturing, trading companies and NGOs. Other areas of his expertise include institutional capacity building, development/aid related work, budgetary and financial systems design and implementation and financial audits.

Zahir is a Trainer of Trainers and has in the past two years alone conducted over 40 webinars in diverse topics such as fraud investigation, risk management, internal audit, cybersecurity, data privacy, corporate finance and transaction services, etc., the content of which can be viewed on the BDO East Africa YouTube Channel at


Zahir is a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) and member of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, ACFE.  Zahir holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration (MBA) from Cranfield University, UK and is also a Certified Public Accountant (Kenya) and a Certified Public Secretary (Kenya).