AGE OF THE ASSASSIN
Nafiz Modack ‘a violent personality with mysterious financial means’ – State contends in closing arguments to oppose bail
Nafiz Modack and his co-accused, Jacques Cronje and alleged corrupt Anti-Gang Unit Sergeant Ashley Tabisher, will hear whether they have been granted bail on 19 January 2022.
Alleged underworld figure Nafiz Modack has a violent personality and his true financial means remain a mystery. The ease with which he can access vast sums of money goes directly to his likelihood to evade arrest.
This was part of the State’s closing arguments in opposing bail for Modack and his co-accused, Jacques Cronje and alleged corrupt Anti-Gang Unit (AGU) Sergeant Ashley Tabisher. Closing arguments in the bail application of the trio were heard in the Blue Downs Regional Court on Thursday, 30 December 2021.
The State contends that Modack conspired with former rugby player and debt collector Zain Kilian, who has abandoned his bail application, to allegedly murder AGU Lieutenant-Colonel Charl Kinnear on 18 September 2020.
Modack and Cronje have been in custody since 29 April 2021 and Tabisher has been in custody since 2 May 2021. The State argues the crimes of murder, attempted murder extortion, kidnapping and intimidation Modack faces are inherently violent crimes.
The State’s evidence against Modack is that he allegedly requested Kilian to ping the phone of Kinnear up until he was gunned down in front of his house in Gearing Street in Bishop Lavis. The same modus operandi, the State alleges, was used in a failed attempt on the life of criminal lawyer William Booth in April 2020.
Modack, according to the State, is also to have orchestrated the failed attempts on the life of Kinnear in November 2019, including a failed hand grenade attack. It is the State’s contention that Modack conspired with co-accused Amaal Jantjies, whose bail was denied in the Parow Magistrate Regional Court in May 2021, and alleged Junky Funky Kid gangster Janick Adonis, who is in custody, to murder Kinnear.
It is also the State’s submission that the murder of Kinnear was in retaliation for the arrest of Modack’s wife, Riana, and the investigations conducted by Kinnear against Modack.
Modack’s alleged corrupt relationship with Tabisher emanates from the 2019 incidents. Investigations by the Hawks and evidence heard in court suggest that Tabisher was allegedly lured by Jantjies to keep Modack abreast of intended raids at his home. Tabisher purportedly agreed to play along for a fee of R10,000.
State prosecutor Advocate Greg Wolmarans underlined what makes the offences more serious is that it was committed by a criminal enterprise of which Modack stands as the leader.
“Modack has a very violent personality and the State submits that the pending cases clearly demonstrate this trait. The WhatsApp messages between Modack and Jantjies demonstrate the violent nature of Modack.
“In one of the messages, he allegedly informed her that she must let him know when the AGU is coming to his home because he wants to have an army waiting for them,” Wolmarans contends.
The State also pointed out that Modack is faced with charges of tax fraud of R46-million and is being investigated in a separate case for car finance fraud involving an amount of R46-million.
The State is of the view that the true financial means of Modack remain a mystery to the court. In fact, it is the State’s contention the “ease with which the Modack can access vast sums of money goes directly to his likelihood to evade arrest”.
It is for this reason the State argues that should Modack be granted bail, he would not hesitate to forfeit any bail amount in order to escape long-term imprisonment.
Wolmarans also argued “it is unknown where the proceeds (about R92-million) of the combined fraud investigations are concealed, adding that Modack is asking the court to act with blind trust in granting him bail”.
On why Modack should be denied bail, the State contends the accused knows who the witnesses are, prior to his arrest one of his associates allegedly threatened one of the investigating officers, Modack allegedly has several members of the SAPS on his payroll and, if granted bail, Modack would definitely go after these witnesses.
Modack is a man of mystery. His financial means are absolutely unknown. He has not played open cards with this court at all. All that is left is for the court to grant a prayer of the State and dismiss the application for bail brought by Modack, Cronje and Tabisher.
Modack, the State claims, has shown in Kinnear’s failed hand grenade attack that he did not give up until Kinnear was dead. Modack’s release on bail, the State argues, would likely induce a sense of shock and outrage in the community where the offences were committed.
In the case of Cronje, it is the State’s argument that he would forfeit his bail in order to escape long-term imprisonment if convicted in racketeering, intimidation, extortion, kidnapping and money laundering
Tabisher faces charges of racketeering relating to his involvement in the activities of an illegal enterprise, corruption and money laundering.
It is alleged that on 10 November 2019, prior to the attempts on the life of Kinnear, he allegedly agreed to supply Jantjies with tactical information which would come to his knowledge relating to police operations planned against Modack.
Tabisher purportedly was willing to sell out his colleagues for R10,000 a week, knowing the deadly consequences that it might have had for his colleagues and their families.
Just like in the case of Modack, the State contends that Tabisher knows who the witnesses are, as he worked with them, knows their families and where they live, and what they will be testifying about.
The prosecution considers Tabisher to be a desperate man that will do anything not to be prosecuted and sentenced to direct imprisonment.
Advocate Bruce Hendricks, representing Tabisher, told the court that his client is not a flight risk, will stand trial and has presented a case showing that it is in the interest of justice that his client be released on bail.
Tabisher’s health, Hendricks said, has suffered while in custody, adding that Tabisher has been suspended without pay. It is Hendricks’ submission that there is no evidence before court showing that his client will interfere with witnesses. Hendricks asked the court that his client be released on bail of R5,000 with stringent conditions or house arrest.
Senior counsel Dirk Uys, representing Modack, told the court it is not competent to take the evidence of a co-accused into account when dealing with other co-accused cases.
“Where the State has said that Kilian told police officers that Modack gave him instructions to perform the pinging is not admissible against my client. If the court applies its mind, the court will see there is no evidence against Modack and there is a very weak case against my client.
“A lot of evidence placed before court comes from a source which is inadmissible. The utterances of a co-accused is patently not permissible against the other accused,” Uys said.
Concening the murder of Kinnear, the only evidence, Uys argued, the State has against this client is the fact the Kilian is alleged to have given an incriminating statement against him.
Yes, Modack knows Kilian, Uys said, and may have done business with him, but that is not evidence; that is only a piece of information. That Kilian may have pinged Kinnear is certainly not sufficient evidence to hold there is a prima facie case against my client.
Attacking the offences connected to Modack, Jantjies and Adonis in their attempt to murder Kinnear in November 2019, it is Uys’s submission that the State’s version of events is less credible than the story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
“It is clearly an improbable fabrication that the State wants the court to believe that Modack is a gangland figure, a man of authority, influence and connection in the underworld,” he said.
What the State is asking, Uys contends, is for the court to believe that Jantjies phoned Modack in October 2019 and apparently said: “Hello, I’m Amaal Jantjies and I’m the girlfriend of your great friend Adonis and I would like to borrow money from you so that Adonis can obtain expensive legal assistance.”
Uys argues that what the State also wants the court to believe is that Modack apparently said he is glad Jantjies phone because he needs “someone to murder a certain Colonel Kinnear”.
Jantjies has categorically denied that she conspired with Modack to murder Kinnear, Uys told the court.
Replying to Uys’s arguments, Wolmarans said: “Mr Uys took the court to a place almost speaking on behalf of co-accused Jantjies and Adonis, and told the court in his words that Jantjies emphatically denied communication with Modack.
“That is not true. Jantjies is a co-accused and her bail was denied in the Parow Regional Court. In that judgment, it states that Jantjies did not dogmatically deny the allegations against her, but in fact said the exact opposite. She conceded and admitted to those very incriminating communications with Modack.”
Wolmarans also reiterated that it is wishful thinking on the side of Advocate Uys that all the downloaded evidence will be found inadmissible, and that this court shouldn’t attach any weight of importance to it.
It is wishful thinking simply because it is an area that Modack’s defence cannot touch with a ten-foot pole, he said.
Paragraph 180 of the State’s argument in opposing bail emphasised: “Where a court grants bail to an accused, there is a contract of trust between the court and the accused. In Schedule 5 and 6 bail applications a court must never release an accused based on ‘blind trust’ or misplaced pity. Where there is doubt concerning their release, an accused is not entitled to the benefit thereof. It is the accused who must satisfy the court.”
Wolmarans told the court: “Modack is a man of mystery. His financial means are absolutely unknown. He has not played open cards with this court at all. All that is left is for the court to grant a prayer of the State and dismiss the application for bail brought by Modack, Cronje and Tabisher.”
The fate of Modack and his two co-accused, Cronje and Tabisher, will be known on Wednesday, 19 January 2022, when Magistrate Deon van der Spuy will deliver judgment on their bail applications. DM/MC