4 January 2018

South Africa: Bail Bids Reveal Underworld Tentacles Dig Deep and Stretch Across SA Border

Several bail applications of figures linked to nightclub security, which have been playing out over the past few weeks, have shed light on just how murky and entrenched underworld activities are.

Three matters, which have been heard mostly in the Cape Town Magistrate's Court, have exposed claims that top police officials are involved in underworld activities.

So far, the names of five senior police officers have surfaced. At least four alleged murder plots have also been revealed.

The three court matters have also highlighted how underworld tentacles rooted in South Africa have stretched to other countries.

Controversial businessman Nafiz Modack is at the centre of one matter, security company director Grant Veroni is the subject of the second, and Hussain Ait Taleb, 49, a martial arts expert better known in bouncer circles as Hussain Moroccan, is the focus of the third.

All three have been the focus of bail applications over the past two months.

In the bail application of Modack, who faces an extortion charge along with four co-accused, it emerged that he has alleged links to a businessman from Pakistan, who is said to have supplied him with cash, a key security figure from the Ukraine, and a man in Serbia.

His contact with the man in Serbia, it was claimed in court, highlights his ties to government officials in South Africa.

Alleged ties to police officials surfaced in Modack's and Taleb's bail applications.

Modack is accused of extortion along with Colin Booysen - who is the brother of alleged Sexy Boys gang boss Jerome Booysen - Jacques Cronje, Ashley Fields, and Carl Lakay.

They are expected back in the dock next week for the continuation of their bail applications.

In Veroni's bail application, which unfolded in November and early December, details about allegedly illegal security operations surfaced.

Veroni was eventually granted bail in the Western Cape High Court after his release was denied in the regional court.

Director of Bellville-based company Skhosana Maponyane Hall Phillips and Khumalo, trading as The Security Group (TSG), he faces two charges relating to the alleged possession of an unlicensed firearm and ammunition.

He also faces a fraud charge in a separate case, set to be heard in Bellville, in which it is alleged that he and a co-accused recruited security guards and applied for firearm licences for them, but never actually employed them.

During Veroni's bail application, Sergeant Edward Edwardes, who is involved in police investigations of the underworld, testified that TSG was at the forefront of taking over nightclub security operations from a more established grouping.

He had testified that many of TSG's security guards were not registered with the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (Psira).

"Even Psira inspectors fear for their lives if they take on certain security companies," Edwardes had said.

Edwardes also testified during Taleb's bail application. Taleb was arrested in October and released from custody on December 22.

He faces a conspiracy to commit murder charge.

It is alleged that Taleb contracted two "individuals" to kill a prominent Cape Town club owner who did not want to pay him protection money.

Taleb had been represented in court by Keith Gess, of the law firm Mathewson Gess Attorneys, and Bruce Hendricks of Hassan-Harmse Attorneys.

During proceedings, Gess referred to the alleged involvement of "top generals" in underworld activities. The names of the police generals were not mentioned.

Names of police generals, however, surfaced in Modack's bail application. Edwardes has been present during these proceedings.

This week Charl Kinnear, a police colonel who is investigating fights in Cape Town clubs, testified in Modack's application that there was a recording of Modack saying "he was dealing with high-ranking police officials and, should there ever be a problem, Tiyo and Mbotho can sort it out".

He was referring to Major-General Mzwandile Tiyo, the Western Cape's head of crime intelligence, and Major-General Patrick Mbotho, a provincial head of detectives.

Kinnear also referred to a meeting Modack had at the One and Only hotel with Northern Cape police commissioner Risimati Shivuri. News24 had witnessed this meeting in May 2017.

In another recording, according to Kinnear, Modack claimed that Kinnear and Major-General Jeremy Vearey, who heads up the Cape Town cluster of police and who was instrumental in his arrest, were on the payroll of controversial businessman Mark Lifman and Jerome Booysen.

During Taleb's bail application, Edwardes had said that six more suspects were set to be arrested.

He said complaints from owners of establishments around Cape Town had resulted in the opening of about 14 cases relating to extortion, intimidation and assault.

Edwardes had testified that several underworld cases could be joined to form one massive case.

This case would fall under the Prevention of Organised Crime Act.

Source: News24

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