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AGE OF THE ASSASSIN

Nafiz Modack was at centre of R50m corruption case, former Hawks officer tells Kinnear trial

Nafiz Modack was at centre of R50m corruption case, former Hawks officer tells Kinnear trial
Alleged Cape Town underworld figure Nafiz Modack is standing trial for the murder of the Anti-Gang Unit’s Lieutenant Colonel Charl Kinnear. (Photo: Daily Maverick)

Former Hawks officer Nico Heerschap was investigating a vehicle and finance corruption case against alleged underworld figure Nafiz Modack – ‘the biggest case in my entire police career’ – when Heerschap’s father was murdered in what was a suspected case of mistaken identity.

Former Hawks Warrant Officer Nico Heerschap has told the Western Cape High Court that he was investigating a R50-million vehicle and property asset finance corruption case involving alleged underworld figure Nafiz Modack when his father, Nicolaas Heerschap (74), was murdered.

Heerschap disclosed this on Thursday when he testified in the trial of those accused of murdering the Anti-Gang Unit’s Lieutenant Colonel Charl Kinnear.

Heerschap said the Hawks investigation revealed a syndicate led by Modack used fraudulent documents, inflated salary slips and false SA Revenue Service documents for loans to purchase properties and expensive cars.

Heerschap Snr was shot dead in front of his house in Melkbosstrand, outside Cape Town, on 9 July 2019 while reversing his Toyota Land Cruiser out of his driveway to take his grandchild to school.

According to the indictment against Modack and his 14 co-accused, Heerschap’s murder was linked to two other murders: the killing of Kinnear on 19 September 2020 in front of his Bishop Lavis home and the fatal shooting of tow truck driver Richard Joseph on 20 September 2019 at CF Towing Services in Kuils River.

heerschap modack

Former Hawks Warrant Officer Nico Heerschap (left, with the rifle in his hand) investigated a corruption case involving R50m against alleged underworld figure Nafiz Modack. (Photo: Supplied)

The late Nicolaas Heerschap, Nico Heershap’s father, who was shot outside his home. (Photo: Supplied)

The 124 charges against the accused include murder, attempted murder, corruption, gangsterism, extortion, the illegal interception of communications, money laundering and contravention of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act.

Modack’s co-accused are Zane Kilian, Ziyaad Poole, Moegamat Brown, Riyaat Gesant, Fagmeed Kelly, Mario Petersen, Jacque Cronje, Petrus Visser, Janick Adonis, Amaal Jantjies, former AGU Sergeant Ashley Tabisher, Yaseen Modack, Mogamat Mukudam and Ricardo Morgan.

A convicted Terrible West Siders gang member, referred to as “Mr A” to protect his identity, has already testified before Judge Robert Henney that Modack ordered a hit on Nico Heerschap and that Heerschap’s father was shot dead in a case of mistaken identity.

‘Motive’

Almost five years since his father was killed, Heerschap took the stand in court on Thursday.

On the day of the murder, he told the court, he left his house at 6.35am in his official police vehicle to pick up colleagues. He was due to testify later that day in the Bellville Magistrates’ Court against Louis Visser, Modack’s bodyguard.

On his way to work, his superior officer informed him that his father had been shot and killed 

Read more in Daily Maverick: ‘You are on your own’ – Former Hawks officer claims SAPS threw him to the dogs after his father’s assassination

Heerschap told the court, “I’ve been looking into Modack since 2014 for vehicle and property financing. The Hawks have opened 23 dockets, totalling R50-million in corruption. The Hawks have formulated 100 charges and arrests are imminent.

“Throughout the investigation, the Hawks worked closely with commercial banks. They gave us information that led us to the syndicate that included Modack, his mother Ruwaida and his brother Yaseen. The Hawks and the banks tried to keep the investigation secret.”

Yaseen Modack is also facing money laundering charges, which are among the 124 charges. In a R46-million tax fraud case against Modack, his mother is identified as the alleged criminal enterprise’s manager.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Inside Nafiz Modack’s multimillion-rand VAT fraud case – a family affair with his mother and brother

On Thursday, Judge Henney asked Heerschap about the impact of the Hawks’ investigation into Modack.

Heerschap said: “This resulted in all banks closing Modack’s accounts, and no financial institution was willing to give them vehicle or asset financing.”

Heerschap testified that he believed Modack was aware that he was being investigated. He said Modack’s banker was questioned during the investigation and could have informed Modack.

He said he believed the investigation could have provided Modack with a “motive” to murder him.

“This was the biggest case in my entire police career that I’ve ever investigated,” he said.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Kinnear case: Former Hawks officer Nico Heerschap forgives me for murdering his father, witness tells court

False documents

The court heard that Heerschap first met Modack on 19 June 2015. At the time, the Hawks were investigating a case involving a Volkswagen Polo that Petrus Visser, Modack’s security manager, allegedly purchased with false documents.

“This car he purchased used fraudulent documents, and the company he was a director of and earned R200,000 per month [from] existed on paper but not in reality,” Heerschap told the court.

On the day in question, Heerschap and a colleague were driving to Modack’s house in Plattekloof, Cape Town, in an unmarked car. They noticed the Polo and stopped next to it.

According to Heerschap, Modack was driving. His passenger was Louis Visser, the brother of Petrus. Heerschap introduced himself to Modack, stating that he was investigating the alleged fraudulent purchase of the vehicle.

“I wanted to check the information of the Polo when Modack drove away and said, ‘Go and speak to my lawyer,’” he testified.

Modack was later arrested and Heerschap testified that while he was sitting with Modack in the Hawks’ office, Modack attempted to bribe him to make the case go away.

Although a charge of defeating the ends of justice was opened against Modack, this matter never made it to court.

Heerschap said the incident sparked an intensive investigation into alleged fraudulent vehicle and asset financing.

The court also heard that Petrus Visser sued Heerschap for R6-million over allegations that his investigation led to the closure of his company.

Modack’s legal representative, advocate Bash Sibda, put it to Heerschap that Modack denied attempting to bribe him and denied any involvement in all allegations made against him.

The trial continues on Monday. DM

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