By Robert Tapfumaneyi
IMPALA Car Rental says it has limited control over where and how their rented vehicles will be used by clients because customers are not obliged to disclose hiring purposes.
The car hire company has found itself in the eye-of-the-storm after its hired vehicle, a double-cab Ford Ranger, was last month used in the abduction of a Bulawayo man Tawanda Muchehiwa (22) by suspected state agents.
The abduction happened a day before the foiled #31July anti-corruption mass protests.
After his abduction, Muchehiwa, a journalism student at the Midlands State University, was severely tortured by his captors. He was only released after a High Court judge issued an order for his immediate release.
He was later dumped near his home and had to hospitalised due to the severity of the injuries he sustained during torture.
An investigation carried by Muchehiwa’s family has CCTV footage of the Impala vehicle being used in kidnapping Tawanda at gun-point in Bulawayo’s central business district.
In a statement Saturday, Impala chief executive Thompson Dongo said the company was concerned that one of its vehicles was used for criminal activities.
“Following a social media video clip which implicates one of our rental vehicles (Registration No. AES 2433) in an alleged abduction for Tawanda Muchehiwa in Bulawayo, Impala Car Rental would like to advise all our valued stakeholders that we are really concerned with this matter,” he said.
“As a service provider, we are limited in controlling where and how our vehicles will be used because clients are not obliged to disclose their vehicle hiring purposes.
“It is very possible that some clients may use our vehicles for criminal activities without our knowledge and it is not our intention to cover up such criminals.”
“As Impala Car Rental we stand obligated to cooperate with any investigations by the Law Enforcement Agents into this matter so that Tawanda Muchehiwa gets justice,” said Dondo.
Meanwhile, Zimbabweans have called on Impala Car Rental to disclose the name of the person who hired the vehicle.