Businessman caught up in more allegations of BEE fronting
FIN24 /30 DECEMBER 20.49 / PELANE PHAKGADI
A 42-year-old man is accusing his former boss of using him as a front for a company that does business with the government.
Patrick Otto claims Stationers and Office Furniture, which is also registered with the Treasury's central database system, is partly his, and he is demanding to have shares paid to him - in cash.
He alleges that his former boss, Pieter Oberholzer, misrepresented papers that he was asked to sign.
"He made me an owner of Lesedi Stationers and Office Furniture, but only mentioned to me that he had intended to make me a BEE (Black Economic Empowerment) shareholder, [and] never told me anything when he made me an actual owner, but continued with his business with Lesedi," said Otto.
"I do not know how much the company is worth, but I know it has made some income."
He claimed this emerged when he experienced delays filing his personal tax returns.
Otto said that he was called into Oberholzer's office, who told him that he wanted to make him a BEE shareholder, and asked for his ID book and proof of address.
"After some time, seeing that I had not become what I was told I'd become, I did some fact checking, and found that I was in fact the owner of a company called Lesedi Stationers, and not a BEE partner as initially said, but a 100% black owner of a company situated under my parents' address in Ikageng, where I stay."
By the time of publication, Oberholzer failed to answer questions about the recent fronting allegations Otto levelled against him, despite numerous attempts for comment on his cellphone.
Otto has now hired a legal team to take the issue to court and said that he "expects justice to prevail and Oberholzer exposed" in yet another fronting scandal.
It is not the first time Oberholzer has been accused of fronting.
News24 previously reported that Oberholzer was also accused of fronting by the family of Joseph Madiehe. Madiehe died without much money to his name, despite being a 51% shareholder of multimillion-rand Planet Stationery company.
Oberholzer told News24 at the time that the matter was in court and he would only comment once it had been concluded.
Madiehe's sister, Elizabeth Mapanzela, told News24 that her brother lived in poverty while his name was allegedly used as a front by Planet Stationery to get deals worth millions of rands. The company operates under the name @Office World and is based in the North West.
Madiehe owned 51% of the company's shares, but allegedly relinquished them for a mere R100 000 to his boss, during a questionable transaction.
Oberholzer appeared in the North West High Court, sitting in Mahikeng, on fraud charges on December 13, where he agreed to pay the family an undisclosed amount as a "buy out" from the company.
The attorney representing the family, Dawid Moreroa, said that he and his council signed a non-disclosure clause, but could confirm that the matter had been resolved amicably between the two parties.
Disclaimer - The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the BEE CHAMBER