Police in Tanzania say they are questioning 12 people in relation to the kidnapping of the country’s richest man.
Mohammed Dewji, who is reportedly worth 1.5 billion dollars, was kidnapped as he left a hotel in the capital Dar es Salaam on Thursday.
The city’s police chief, Lazaro Mambosasa, said on Friday that 12 people, including hotel workers, were being questioned.
There is a lot of news surrounding the kidnapping… That is not official information,” Mambosasa told reporters.
Dewji was kidnapped by two white men. Up until now we haven’t established the motive but we are holding a dozen people including hotel security men for questioning,” he said.
Details from the authorities are sparse and it is still unclear whether a ransom has been demanded.
Local media in Tanzania have quoted an Uber driver who said he witnessed the kidnapping and that the suspects fired into the air before leaving. He said they were masked.
Dewji, 43, owns the METL Group conglomerate, which operates in a wide range of industries including trade, agriculture and financial services, among others, according to Forbes magazine.
Forbes estimates his net worth to be 1.5 billion dollars and says he is Africa’s youngest billionaire.
Born in Tanzania, he studied in the United States at Georgetown University. He describes himself in his official Twitter biography as a “pan-African entrepreneur and philanthropist.”
Dewji, Tanzania’s only billionaire, signed the Giving Pledge in 2016, promising to donate at least half of his fortune to philanthropic causes.
On the day of his kidnapping, Dewji posted on Twitter: “Your ability to handle chaos determines how you progress in life. How you manage and embrace chaos will always be one of your greatest strengths. #LifeLongSkill.”