News24, Reporter – Caryn Dolley
Cape Town – Confidential police information which allegedly ended up with controversial businessman Mark Lifman formed the focus of court proceedings in the extortion case against suspected underworld kingpin Nafiz Modack.
A bail application in the matter continued in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court on Friday with lawyer Ben Mathewson questioning Charl Kinnear, the investigating officer in the case.
Mathewson, who represents Ashley Fields, one of the accused in the matter, asked Kinnear questions about how Lifman had accessed privileged police information.
He also questioned Kinnear about his apparent ties to suspected Sexy Boys gang boss Jerome Booysen.
During proceedings Mathewson produced a photograph of Jerome Booysen’s son with Kinnear’s son. Kinnear said the photograph was taken in either 2012 or 2013 and that he may have taken it.
It has previously emerged in court that Lifman and Booysen were part of a rival security faction against a grouping headed by Modack.
It was also alleged on Wednesday that Lifman controlled certain police officers.
Modack is accused of extortion and intimidation alongside Fields, Colin Booysen – Jerome Booysen’s brother, Jacques Cronje, and Carl Lakay.
They face charges relating to the nightclub security industry in that they allegedly took over security operations at clubs and restaurants, forcing owners to pay them.
The group was arrested on December 15 and shortly afterward lodged an application to be released on bail.
Two versions of what transpired have so far emerged via the bail application.
The one version is that the case has actually been orchestrated by Lifman and is a platform on which police corruption is being exposed, while the second version is that police officers are being painted as corrupt for doing their jobs and making high-profile arrests.
During Friday’s proceedings Mathewson put it to Kinnear that when Fields and the others were arrested, they had informally mentioned that Lifman was behind them being taken into custody.
Kinnear replied that Modack had talked about Lifman’s involvement and Fields had said something along the lines of: “Ja, money can solve anything.”
Mathewson questioned Kinnear about two visits he made to Lifman’s home, which Kinnear had said was in connection with investigations he was busy with.
He also referred to Grant Veroni – a director of the company Skhosana Maponyane Hall Phillips and Khumalo, trading as The Security Group (TSG), which police have previously alleged in court is at the centre of underworld ructions.
Veroni appeared in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday. It was the third time he was arrested and granted bail in about five months.
During Wednesday’s proceedings in the extortion matter it emerged that in an affidavit, Veroni had said Lifman had told him there was a warrant for his arrest and that “his” police officers had been to Veroni’s home. This happened before the third time he was arrested.
On Friday Mathewson questioned Kinnear on how Lifman knew this confidential police information.
‘Nothing remains a secret in SA’
Kinnear replied: “Nothing stays a secret in South Africa.”
Lifman had apparently known that Veroni would be released on bail after his latest arrest.
“Mr Lifman knew that 10 days prior. That’s suspicious Sir,” Matthewson told Kinnear on Friday.
Kinnear said that Veroni had been released on bail following his latest arrest because after his two previous arrests he had also been granted bail and the latest case was similar to the previous two he faced.
But Mathewson questioned how Lifman knew Kinnear’s opinion on the matter.
Kinnear said he had not discussed the matter with Lifman and Lifman would be in a better position to answer Mathewson.
Relationships and photograph in focus
Previously Kinnear had testified that his son had at one stage been in a relationship with Jerome Booysen’s niece.
On Friday, he elaborated on this, saying his children had been friends with Jerome Booysen’s sister’s children as they had gone to school together.
Mathewson had then put it to Kinnear that he had a photograph of Jerome Booysen’s son and Kinnear’s son.
“It’s not unlikely,” Kinnear replied.
Asked who had taken the photograph, Kinnear said he may have taken it himself.
During proceedings on Wednesday, attorney Bruce Hendricks, who represents Colin Booysen, said the extortion case was actually about police corruption.
“This matter is nothing more than officers of the law being corrupt and being in cahoots with people,” he had said.
The bail application is expected to continue on February 1.