One billion Tanzanian shillings ($437,000) is now on offer to anyone with information that will lead to the rescue of abducted Tanzanian billionaire Mohammed Dewji.
Dewji was kidnapped last Thursday (Oct. 11) just as he left the gym at the Colosseum Hotel in Dar es Salaam. Police said two “white men” were involved in the kidnapping but were still unclear on the motives behind the abduction. More than 20 people have been arrested in connection with the case. Dewji’s family also opened three phone hotlines to gather information on his whereabouts.
A former lawmaker, Dewji is the chief executive officer of METL Group, a company founded by his father in the 1970s that is purportedly Tanzania’s largest home-grown company. With a presence in 12 African countries, METL has investments in sectors as diverse as manufacturing, agriculture, real estate, transport, and financial services. The company says its annual revenues of over $1.5 billion constitutes a little over 3.5% of Tanzania’s gross domestic product. At 43, and with a net worth of $1.5 billion, Dewji is listed by Forbes as Africa’s youngest and Tanzania’s only billionaire.
Considered a peaceful nation in a region rocked by turmoil, Dewji’s kidnapping portends the problems facing the East African nation given the recent rise of shadowy attacks. Last year, Tundu Lissu, an outspoken government critic was shot several times by unknown gunmen and had to undergo more than a dozen surgeries in Kenya and Belgium to save his life. An opposition member was hacked to death in February, while another opposition legislator’s vehicle was shot at during a local election last month.