By Own Correspondent
A local news organisation NewsHawks has published a damning report claiming that Impala Car Rental is owned by the dreaded Central Intelligence Organisation who owns controlling shares in the company.
According to NewsHawks, an investigation over two months into Impala’s affairs and Muchehiwa’s abduction in Bulawayo on 30 July shows the car hire belongs to the CIO.
These kidnapping occurred a day before the 31 July protests, preceded by a sweeping crackdown on civic and political activists, including journalists, by state security agents.
Documents obtained during the investigation show that Impala registered as Impala Carriers (Pvt) Ltd – is now owned by Chilten Trust, a CIO entity, represented by company chief executive Thompson Dondo in the car hire firm’s registration documents.
Impala’s registration number is 2519/1989. Although Impala registration documents have been removed from the company registry in Harare, The NewsHawks managed to meticulously piece together the record.
Investigations reveal Chilten Trust is a CIO entity used for administrative, operational and investments purposes.
The probe unearthed a secret arrangement between Dondo and the CIO on the ownership of the business.
The probe shows Dondo – whose National Identification card Number is 58-132451P-50 – represents CIO interests in Impala. His address was given on the documents as No. 92 McChery Avenue, Eastlea, Harare. A search for the address led to No. 92 McChlery, not McChery.
Dondo’s ID No. the last two digits 50 – shows he is from Mutasa district in Manicaland province.
The digits 58 suggest he obtained his ID from Kwekwe.
The NewsHawks journalists, then working for the Zimbabwe Independent, first came across Chilten Trust in the late 1990s and again in 2003 investigating its ties with Israeli intelligence linked entity Nikuv which was hired by government to produce new IDs and passports, and later biometric identity and travel documents. Nikuv, which deals with electrical issues, is infamous in Zimbabwe for election rigging controversies.
Our journalists also later encountered Chilten Trust in 2003 when it was embroiled in a failed CIO plot to frame the late MDC founding leader Morgan Tsvangirai, the party’s then secretary-general Welshman Ncube and the late Renson Gasela, an MDC leader, and implicate them in false allegations that they had conspired to assassinate the late former president Robert Mugabe.
In the plot to frame MDC leaders, Chilten Trust was used by CIO as a conduit to make payments through CBZ Bank and ZB Bank (formerly ZimBank) to dodgy international Israeli public relations consultant Ari Ben-Menashe via his Canadian-based political consultancy, Dickens & Madison, between 30 November 2001 and 5 August 2002.
Documents show that Chilten Trust took control of Impala on 6 September 2017 after it had acquired 16 000 shares at a nominal value of ZW$1 each. At the time the exchange between the United States dollar and the Zimbabwean dollar was 1:1. An Impala CR2 document, used for creating and issuing new shares or for share allotment in a private company, shows the 16 000 shares gave the CIO outfit a controlling 50.2% shareholding.
The nominal share capital of the company was 32 000 shares going for ZW$1 each. The number of shares previously allotted, including subscriber shares, was 100.
This left 31 900 shares available for cash to the tune of ZW$31 900.
After Chilten Trust found its way into Impala through Dondo, on the same day 6 September 2017 the balance of the shares went to a company called Gutlomm Trust located on the 7th Floor of Robinson House, Harare. The company was represented by Tendai Gunda whose ID number is 50-173439E-42.
Dondo and Gunda are both from Manicaland. Gutlomm Trust is no longer present at the given address. Checks show that it has now moved to Eastlea along Samora Machel Avenue. The CR6 document says Impala is located on Number 40 Chiremba Road, Hillside, which is public knowledge.
Asked about Impala’s shareholding and CIO connection, Impala company lawyer Jivas Mudimu said: “I don’t want to lie; I’m a lawyer for Impala, but I don’t know what is in its CR14 (information on directors). I don’t think it is any of my business anyway. I don’t know who owns what at Impala.”