Court hears how alleged underworld kingpin Nafiz Modack intimidated investigators in top cop murder case

Captain Edward du Plessis, who is part of the investigation team into the assassination of Lieutenant Colonel Charl Kinnear, was told by the security manager of alleged underworld kingpin Nafiz Modack there was a R1-million “hit” on his life.

The affidavit by Edward Clarke, the investigation officer in Kinnear’s murder case, was read out by state prosecutor Adnaan Gelderbloem in the Blue Downs regional court on 3 September. 

The state is opposing bail for Modack and his co-accused, Zane Kilian, Jacques Cronjé and police officer Ashley Tabisher. Another accused, Ricardo Morgan, was granted bail in May

The accused face charges that include conspiracy to commit murder, murder, illegal cellphone tracking, racketeering, kidnapping, intimidation, corruption, gang-related extortion and contravening the Prevention of Organised Crime Act.

The state argued on Friday that should Modack be released on bail, he “will attempt to influence or intimidate witnesses or conceal or destroy evidence”. 

Du Plessis, who is attached to the National Priority Violent Crime team in Pretoria, received the phone call from Petrus Visser, Modack’s security manager, on 19 January 2021. Visser has since been arrested on a charge of intimidation. 

After Du Plessis was threatened, 24 members from the Special Task Force, National Intervention Unit and Tactical Response Unit were sent to safeguard the team of investigators, the court heard. 

Clarke’s affidavit said Modack “has a clear pattern in terms of instituting false civil and criminal cases when investigations are conducted against him or persons affiliated to him”.

Modack has taken top cops, including national police commissioner Khehla Sitole and Police Minister Bheki Cele, to court on multiple occasions. 

“I interpret the repeated actions by the accused [Modack] as an intimidation tactic [and an] attempt to scare off the investigating officers who are acting against the accused,” Clarke said in his affidavit. 

Clarke said he, too, was contacted and “cautioned” by Modack that he would sue him in his personal capacity after Clarke had visited certain residences attached to Modack.  

A Whatsapp message by Modack was quoted to support the state’s argument that he might intimidate witnesses if released on bail. “If you ever disrespected me and I was calm about it, don’t trust me,” it read. 

In one high court case Modack challenged Sitole to return his firearms that were seized by police in 2018. Modack’s application was dismissed with costs totalling R805 919. Modack approached the supreme court of appeal, which was also dismissed with costs amounting to R159 470. 

The state told the court that court fees of more than R965 000 had not yet been settled by Modack.

The court adjourned with the bail hearing to proceed on Friday, 10 September.

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Eunice Stoltz
Eunice Stoltz is a general news reporter at the Mail & Guardian.

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