Modack case death threats debated in court: State Security Agency intel or false info?

2018-02-07 19:57
Nafiz Modack (File, Caryn Dolley, News24)

Nafiz Modack (File, Caryn Dolley, News24)

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Cape Town – The State Security Agency (SSA) is among the structures that have identified an apparent murder plot targeting a team working to keep suspected underworld kingpin Nafiz Modack jailed, but his lawyer has brushed this aside as fake information.

On Wednesday in the Cape Town Magistrate's Court, during the continuation of a bail application centring on Modack and his four co-accused who all face extortion charges, the investigating officer in the matter, Charl Kinnear, testified that information had surfaced that he, and others working with him, were being targeted.

He said Modack allegedly wanted to have him, state prosecutor Esna Erasmus, Major-General Jeremy Vearey, who heads up the Cape Town cluster of police stations, as well as a Captain Jaftha, who is also part of the cluster, murdered.

READ: Modack case prosecutor, investigator and cop threatened with death, court hears

However, Advocate Edwin Grobler, who represents Modack, said: "My instructions are that this information is fake and when the investigation is concluded it will be shown to be fake".

Modack is accused of extortion and intimidation alongside Carl Lakay, Ashley Fields, Colin Booysen – suspected Sexy Boys gang boss Jerome Booysen's brother – and Jacques Cronje.

They face charges relating to an alleged takeover of security operations at clubs and restaurants and allegedly forcing owners to pay them.

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

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

During the application on Wednesday, Kinnear testified about how information regarding the apparent threats towards himself, Erasmus, Vearey and Jaftha had surfaced.

He said on January 19 at 20:39, Vearey had received a telephone call from Western Cape police commissioner Lieutenant-General Khombinkosi Jula.

Jula had told Vearey that crime intelligence was investigating information that there were threats on the lives of Vearey, Kinnear and Jaftha. 

"After this information, General Vearey became aware that the SSA had similar information regarding a threat against General Vearey, myself and Captain Jaftha," Kinnear testified.

This information was that Modack was behind the threats.

Escalated to national police head

Kinnear said the SSA had escalated the matter to National Police Commissioner Khehla Sitole's office.

The national commissioner's office had informed Western Cape police officer Major-General Peter Jacobs of the matter.

Jacobs, the Wynberg cluster of police station's head, was previously the head of the province's crime intelligence division.

The country's head of detectives and crime intelligence, according to Kinnear, was also looking into the threats.

Kinnear said that last Friday, while the bail application was underway, Vearey had been called out of the courtroom by a crime intelligence operative.

"This person... informed General Vearey of the same threat and extended it to the prosecutor as well," he said.

Police escort

Kinnear said that before this information had surfaced, Vearey had received other threats and had therefore been allocated permanent guards by the national police's office.

He testified that Modack had allegedly been in contact with some prisoners to arrange incidents outside of jail.

Earlier on Wednesday, Grobler noted that Kinnear and Vearey had been escorted to and from court by between six and 10 police officers.

Kinnear said this was correct, but the officers were present for Vearey.

It previously emerged during the bail application that controversial businessmen Mark Lifman and Andre Naude, as well as Jerome Booysen, were part of an opposing faction against Modack and his grouping.

Colin Booysen's attorney Bruce Hendricks, therefore, put it to Kinnear on Wednesday that the threat against him, Vearey, Erasmus and Jaftha could have been made by this opposing faction.

'Modack in contact with various high-ranking police officers'

During Wednesday's proceedings statements forming part of the state's case were read out. The statements dealt with Modack.

A statement by Lieutenant-Colonel Peter Janse Viljoen of the Western Cape Hawks was one of those read out.

According to his statement, based on detailed billing and phone conversations, Modack was "in contact with various high-ranking police officers, in excess of ten".

Janse Viljoen said after Modack was arrested in Worcester in November in a case involving debt collection and which was withdrawn, he had phoned Major-General Mzwandile Tiyo.

Tiyo, who heads up the Western Cape's crime intelligence division, took over this position after Jacobs was effectively demoted along with Vearey in June 2016.

"At this stage it's unknown what role Major-General Tiyo played, if any, but it's strange that Modack phone [sic] the general as soon as he is arrested," Janse Viljoen's statement read.

READ: M26 hand grenade in security turf war may be stored in a club, court hears

It also said that in April 2017 information was received that Modack's group had a M26 hand grenade which they planned to use against Lifman's group.

"This hand grenade has not been found yet and information is that it is being kept at one of the clubs under the security of the Modack group," Janse Viljoen's statement read.

Other statements read out in court on Wednesday revealed that Modack allegedly also tried to extort several clubs in Gauteng, including The Grand in Sandton.

The bail application is expected to continue on Monday.

Read more on:    state security agency  |  nafiz modack  |  cape town  |  courts

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