Family of abducted African billionaire offer $436K for safe return

The family of Mohammed Dewji, Africa’s youngest billionaire, is offering nearly a half-million dollars for his return — nearly a week after he was abducted in Tanzania.

Mohammed Dewji, a Tanzanian business tycoon, was abducted from a luxury hotel in Dar es Salaam last week. Photo by Mohammed Dewji Press Office/EPA-EFE
Mohammed Dewji, a Tanzanian business tycoon, was abducted from a luxury hotel in Dar es Salaam last week. Photo by Mohammed Dewji Press Office/EPA-EFE

Dewji, 43, had arrived for a workout at the Colosseum Hotel and Fitness Club in Dar es Salaam last Thursday when he was taken by armed men. Police believe it was a “well-planned attack” in the affluent Oysterbay neighborhood of Dar es Salaam, The Guardian reported.
“The family is offering a reward of a billion (Tanzanian) shillings to any person who has information leading to the whereabouts of our son,” Dewji’s uncle Azim Dewji told reporters Monday. “We want to assure anyone with the information about the whereabouts of our son to come forward and we will treat their information as secret.”

A billion shillings is equivalent to about $436,000.

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Paul Makonda, regional police commissioner in Dar es Salaam, said “white” perpetrators fired a gun during the incident and drove off in two vehicles after the kidnapping.

Dewji is the chief executive officer of METL (Mohammed Enterprises Tanzania), a Tanzanian conglomerate founded by his father in the 1970s active in textile manufacturing, flour milling, beverages and edible oils in eastern, southern and central Africa, Forbes reported.

The magazine put Dewji’s wealth at $1.5 billion and he promised to donate at least half his money to philanthropic causes.

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Dewji, whose nickname is Mo, started a soft drink called Mo Cola to take on Coca Cola in 2014. He was part of Tanzanian Parliament for two terms before resigning in 2015 to focus on the family business, CNN reported.

ByClyde Hughes