Oct 11, 2018, 5:11 PM ET

Africa's youngest billionaire kidnapped in Tanzania

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Police have mobilized across Tanzania to search for a man described as Africa's youngest billionaire after he was kidnapped by gunmen Thursday morning in the nation's capital, Dar es Salaam.

Mohammed Dewji, the 43-year-old owner and president of Mohammed Enterprises Tanzania Ltd. (METL) and a former member of Tanzania's parliament, was entering a gym in an upscale hotel for his regular morning workout when he was grabbed off the street, according to police reports.

PHOTO: A vehicle that belongs to Mohammed Dewji, a Tanzanian business tycoon who is said to be Africas youngest billionaire, parked at Colosseum Hotel and Fitness Club in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, Oct. 11, 2018.EPA via Shutterstock
A vehicle that belongs to Mohammed Dewji, a Tanzanian business tycoon who is said to be Africa's youngest billionaire, parked at Colosseum Hotel and Fitness Club in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, Oct. 11, 2018.

Dewji was taken by two masked men who fired their guns into the air before driving away from the hotel, the Associated Press reported, citing the regional police commander for the area.

Police have 12 suspects in custody including the hotel's manager, the AP reported, citing Dar es Salaam regional commissioner Paul Makonda's comments to a local media outlet.

With a reputation as one of East Africa's leading forces in regional trade and business development, Dewji served in parliament from 2005 until 2015.

Dewji, also known as "Mo," is Tanzania's only billionaire, with a net worth of $1.5 billion, according to Forbes.

Dewji heads up the METL Group, which was established in the 1970s by his father and calls itself Tanzania's "largest home-grown company," according to its website.

PHOTO: Mohammed Dewji, a Tanzanian business tycoon said to be Africas youngest billionaire, photographed during an interview at his office in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, April 23, 2015.EPA via Shutterstock, FILE
Mohammed Dewji, a Tanzanian business tycoon said to be Africa's youngest billionaire, photographed during an interview at his office in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, April 23, 2015.

METL is worth more than $1 billion and "employs 24,000 people in industries including agriculture, manufacturing, energy and petroleum, financial services, mobile telephony, infrastructure and real estate," according to the company's website.

Dewji is also the first Tanzanian to join the Giving Pledge, a commitment by billionaires to help address society's most pressing problems by promising to give more than half their wealth to charity.

"Our role as citizens of this world is to truly support the betterment of our society so that our future generations and their offspring grow up to live even better lives and strive for even more than they think is possible for them today", Dewji was quoted as saying on the charity's website.

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  • reality25

    Speaking of Africa and billionaires, here's a history tidbit that's rather interesting-
    "This 14th-Century African Emperor Remains the Richest Person in History: Forget today’s tech billionaires, the wealth of Mansa Musa of Mali was too vast to be imagined—or equaled."- (History Channel)
    ********
    Estimated net worth? 400 Billion dollars. His Empire would have included parts of modern Ghana...the same Ghana where Melania Trump visited a hospital and was holding "poor" babies. The irony of history...

  • Paul Iannello

    pay um what they want...he'll be home by next week......

  • Gwa Khaotrakul

    Smell like this story has some backgrounds, may be profit or conflict between this billionaire and ....?
    Hoping that he'll be fine.

  • Mike Barrington

    Kony has him!

  • Toshiro Histugaya

    Condolences?

  • Pingy

    I guess he didn't see that one coming since the hotel manager was apparently in on it.

  • Bronx

    I guess I'm sorry this happened to him. There's no excuse.

    What always shocks me when I hear of billionaires, and there now are so many of them in the world,
    is that 1 dollar is to a thousand dollars what 1 million dollars is to one billion dollars.

    Not that many years back we spoke of millionaires with awe. IF someone amassed 50 million or earned 50 million we considered them the richest of the rich. The robber barons of the late 19th century were multimillionaires, not multi billionaires.

    So for the very affluent--- if you have amassed 10 million, keep it in perspective. You have 1% of what that billionaire has. You aren't in the same boat. I won't even go into the difference between you and
    the folks with 50-100 billion in wealth.

    It seems money is accumulating at the top at some rather accelerated rate while mean wages
    and wealth barely budge.

    Something is wrong with this picture.

  • reality25

    Article-
    "Dewji is also the first Tanzanian to join the Giving Pledge, a commitment by billionaires to help address society's most pressing problems by promising to give more than half their wealth to charity."

    Wikipedia-
    "As of 2018, the pledge has 184 signatories, either individuals or couples, from 22 different countries. Most of the signatories of the pledge are billionaires, and their pledges total over $365 billion. It does not actually dictate that the money will be spent in any certain way or towards any particular charity or cause, and there is no obligation to actually donate any money."

    What???

  • P'Thizikil

    The title "youngest" hardly seems relevant when talking about a 43-yaer-old man. I expected him to be 12 or so.

  • Prophet With Honor

    Most billionaires are 98-99% paper and 1-2% liquid. Any ransom over a million will take time to arrange.

  • Red dog

    Again why should I care?wWe have children dying in Chicago why should I care about what happens in Africa with billionaires ?

  • TexWho

    Well at least he no longer has to worry 'bout a republican fueled global economic meltdown.

  • Don'tBotherMe

    "Dewji is also the first Tanzanian to join the Giving Pledge, a commitment by billionaires to help address society's most pressing problems by promising to give more than half their wealth to charity."

    Maybe the kidnappers are from the Giving Pledge and collecting their half.

  • Oh Really Now

    Whew! I was afraid it was my friend the Nigerian Prince.

  • Prophet With Honor

    You mean those ****hole countries have billionaires?
    Tell Trump!