Another employee discovers he was used as front for tenders

Patrick Serame Otto had no knowledge about his ownership of a company worth millions of rand.
Patrick Serame Otto had no knowledge about his ownership of a company worth millions of rand.

Controversial North West businessman Peter Zachariaz Oberholzer has been accused of fraud and fronting using one of his employees to score government contracts.

This after he allegedly registered a company under the name of one of his employees and later transferred it to himself under dubious means.

Documents seen by Sunday World show that, after his employee discovered the long-held secret, Oberholzer, 39, allegedly drafted minutes of an AGM stating that he bought the company.   

Sunday World can reveal that Oberholzer registered a company called Lesedi Stationers and Office Supplies in 2006 using the names of his cashier, Patrick Serame Otto.

Otto, 42, said he had no knowledge of owning the company.Otto's details emerged two weeks after Sunday World reported that Oberholzer was taken to court by one of his deceased employees' family after they discovered that the late Simon Madiehe was a majority shareholder in a company called Planet Stationery and Office Supplies, but yet died a pauper.

Oberholzer denied the allegations against him and said he legally bought the late man's shares for R100 000 plus a bakkie and house.

The family contends that the there was no record of the cash while the bakkie was later taken back by the company. They also claim Oberholzer wants to evict them from the house.

Sunday World has established that while Madiehe and Otto were always sent as representatives to government tender briefings by Oberholzer, the two had little to no knowledge about their ownership of the companies. Otto said he was shattered the day he discovered that he was the sole director of Lesedi Stationers and Office Supplies.

"I started working for @ Office World as a cashier in 2003. I only found out last year in November that I own the company. This was only after I opened the documents he (Oberholzer) had sent me to deliver in Joburg. The documents had my name all over them," he said.

He said when he confronted Oberholzer about the matter, he was threatened with dismissal.

"He told me that I must find another job because I'm too smart to work for his company."

He said his heart sank when he also learnt that Oberholzer had allegedly used his parents' home address when registering the company.

"We are struggling at home. My parents are all pensioners and I'm the only one working at home. And the next thing there's a business worth millions purported to be owned by me," he said.

Oberholzer's lawyer, from Schoeman Attorneys, who only introduced herself as Elise, asked Sunday World not to publish the story until the matter was decided by the courts.

"We are not going to answer any questions until the matter is decided by the court. The judge will decide on the merits of the case," she said.

How it all began: Otto said that it all started one afternoon in 2004 when he was called by Oberholzer to his office to help him with some documents.

"I didn't ask any questions or read the papers. I just signed ... he said I was signing as a witness," he said.

He said he got alarmed in 2015 when Oberholzer asked for his ID document and a statement of his credit account from a clothing shop. He said when he queried he was told not to worry and just gave Oberholzer the documents and he was going to be rewarded as money was going to be deposited into his account.

"He made a copy of my ID and said he was going to make me his BEE partner. Otto said after he consulted lawyers last year about his discovery, he was fired from work.