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Plot to murder lawyer William Booth linked to his repre...

Maverick Citizen

AGE OF THE ASSASSIN

Plot to murder lawyer William Booth linked to his representation of victim of extortion client

The man accused of orchestrating the murder attempt is alleged underworld figure Nafiz Modack.

A failed attempt on the life of criminal lawyer William Booth was allegedly carried out because he represented an individual being extorted by alleged underworld figure Nafiz Modack.

The prosecution claims Modack’s co-accused, Jacques Cronje, carried out the threats and intimidation on Modack’s behalf.

This, with Modack’s alleged involvement in a plot to kill Booth in April 2020, became apparent in an affidavit by the investigating officer, Colonel Eddie Clark, that was read into the record on Thursday in the Blue Downs Regional Court.

The State alleges that Modack and Cronje were guilty of intimidation, kidnapping, extortion and money laundering.

The indictment states that Modack and Cronje unlawfully induced, threatened, subjected to pressure or inspired fear in the mind of Sameer Valie by kidnapping, threatening him and “by means of the said threat thereby obtained an advantage not due to them”.

The men, it is alleged, wanted Valie to make an immediate electronic fund transfer (EFT) for R90,000 into a business account in the name of Ricardo Morgan and to sign an acknowledgement of a debt of R600,000 owed to Shanil Maharaj.

“Cronje talked with Modack on the phone and got instructions from Modack. Valie was told he owed a person by the name Shanil Maharaj R600,000. Valie denied that he owed Maharaj the money and Cronje threatened to kill him or his wife,” the affidavit reads.

Valie could not complete the EFT and was then allegedly forced into Cronje’s car and taken to his home. Cronje’s “bodyguards” followed in another vehicle.

Again there were glitches with the transfer and Cronje allegedly ordered Valie to transfer the funds after midnight on 10 April 2020.

“Cronje forwarded him the details of a FNB account of Morgan into which the money must be deposited. Later Valie then approached Booth and told Cronje that he is with his lawyer,” said Clark.

But Cronje, according to a message shown in court, replied to Valie: “I have agreement with you and not your lawyer.”

On 12 March 2020 Valie was at his Claremont, Cape Town, home when two men were filmed by his security cameras. The one, Clark said, was identified as Cronje. Later a brick was flung through the front window of Valie’s house. Valie then approached Booth for legal assistance to obtain an interdict against Cronje.

Booth’s intervention led to the arrest of Cronje on 2 April 2020. He was released on 6 April 2020. 

In one of the threats made by Cronje to Valie, he is alleged to have warned:  “You will be shot at every day if the case is not withdrawn. Your wife, mother and family will also be shot.

“The police won’t be able to do anything if you are shot. If you don’t withdraw then your holes [graves] will be ready.”

kilian
Zane Kilian is implicated in the murder of SAPS Lieutenant-Colonel Charl Kinnear and the attempted hit on lawyer William Booth. (Photo: Gallo Images / Brenton Geach)

Clark further set out that debt collector Zane Kilian, who has been charged with the murder of Anti-Gang Unit detective Charl Kinnear, had attempted to trace and track Valie so that he could inform Cronje.

Booth’s “meddling” in Modack’s matters led to the shaping of the conspiracy, the court heard.

“I’m of the opinion that the arrest of Cronje and the money they lost due to Booth’s intervention raised a motive for the attack on Mr Booth in April 2020,” said Clark.

Three members of the Terrible West Siders gang, Kauthar Brown, Ebrahim Deare and Riyaad Gasant, were convicted for the failed attack by the Cape Town Magistrates’ Court in April 2021.

The State contends that Modack is the kingpin who orchestrated five attempts on Kinnear’s life in November 2020, conspired with Kilian to murder Kinnear and tried to murder Booth.

The investigator said those before court should not be granted bail, adding that they posed a threat to society. DM/MC

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