A group of cops flouted procedure in Mark Lifman arrest – attorney

2018-02-09 20:25
Controversial businessman Mark Lifman was released from custody after a pointing a firearm charge against him was withdrawn. (Caryn Dolley, News24)

Controversial businessman Mark Lifman was released from custody after a pointing a firearm charge against him was withdrawn. (Caryn Dolley, News24)

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Cape Town – The lawyer of controversial businessman Mark Lifman said on Friday that action should be taken against a group of police officers he alleges arrested his client without following the correct procedures.

Several claims against police have surfaced in a nightclub security extortion case centering on suspected underworld kingpin Nafiz Modack, and in which Lifman has been mentioned several times.

It was claimed during the bail application in this extortion matter that Modack wanted to have Lifman murdered and that Lifman controlled certain police officers, especially those driving the case against Modack.

However, several claims that Modack is linked to a number of high-ranking police officers have also been made.

During the extortion bail application, it was said that Modack and Lifman were in opposing nightclub security factions vying to dominate the industry.

For a detailed breakdown on what has been happening in the underworld nightclub security takeover, see News24's showcase Underworld Unmasked

Lifman was arrested on Wednesday at the Cape Town International Airport.

He faced a charge of pointing a firearm for an incident that allegedly happened in March 2017. It is understood that Modack had lodged a complaint against Lifman with the police.

Lifman was then released from police custody at the Bellville Magistrate's Court on Friday after it emerged he would not be charged.

At least six uniformed and armed private security officers, who appeared to be under the leadership of Lifman's associate, Andre Naude, were stationed outside the court building ahead of, and for, his release from custody.

High private security presence

Some of the security personnel initially stood across the street from the court, but a group of men, who may have been plain clothes police officers, demanded that they move.

They were also told to move a vehicle, with the words "tactical unit" on its side, which was parked directly opposite the court's entrance.

Some of the men took photographs of those who appeared to be linked to Naude.

Following his arrest on Wednesday, Lifman was detained in the holding cells of the Mfuleni police station. His attorney William Booth had tried to have him released from custody shortly after his arrest, but was unsuccessful.

On Friday, Lifman had been expected to make his first appearance in the Bellville Magistrate's Court.

But before he was called to the dock, it emerged that he would instead be released from custody without having to appear.

Andre Naude, an associate of controversial businessman Mark Lifman, was present with a security team when Lifman was released from custody. (Caryn Dolley, News24)

'Travesty of justice'

Booth described the matter as "a travesty of justice". He said "a group of police" had acted "on their own" to arrest Lifman.

The incident in which Lifman allegedly pointed a firearm happened in March 2017 and the criminal complaint against him was lodged in January 2018. 

"In a matter like this, where there's been a long delay before the charges are laid, the correct procedure is to take the docket to the prosecuting authorities and have them decide whether or not someone should be prosecuted," Booth said.

"If they decide to prosecute then that person must be summoned to appear in court. This never happened here."

Lifman, he said, had been detained in the holding cells of the Mfuleni police station where conditions were "atrocious".

Further investigations

Booth said a senior state prosecutor had on Friday told him there were no charges against Lifman and it had been decided he would not be prosecuted at this stage.

"I understand that they wish to do further investigations and then make a formal decision," he said.

Booth said he planned to see that action was taken against the police officers who arrested Lifman and this could involve him lodging a complaint with the police ombudsman.

On Friday, when Naude, who had walked outside earlier, saw Lifman near the Bellville Magistrate's Court exit he joked that it was Lifman's "long road to freedom".

Asked how he was, Lifman, who walked towards a waiting car, said: "I’m always good".

He referred queries about his arrest and release to Booth.

Previous arrests

About six years ago Naude and Lifman were arrested in a matter relating to private security services.

They had run a nightclub security company, Specialised Protection Services (SPS), which was launched on November 1, 2011.

SPS company directors also included brothers Colin and Jerome "Donkie" Booysen – the alleged head of the Sexy Boys gang.

Months after its launch, SPS was shut down because it was not registered with the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority, as was required by law.

Naude and Lifman were arrested, but after a trial were acquitted of hundreds of charges they had faced.

REVEALED: Power shifts in Cape Town’s underworld

Lifman and Naude have recently been named in the Cape Town Magistrate's Court as rivals of Modack and a security grouping he allegedly heads.

Modack is accused of extortion and intimidation alongside Carl Lakay, Ashley Fields, Colin Booysen and Jacques Cronje.

They face charges relating to an alleged nightclub security industry takeover in which they allegedly forced club and restaurant owners to pay them.

The group was arrested on December 15 and shortly afterward lodged an application to be released on bail. 

This application is expected to continue on Monday.

Read more on:    mark lifman  |  nafiz modack  |  cape town  |  crime

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