Billionaire Industrialist Dewji Is Abducted in Tanzania

(Bloomberg) -- Tanzanian billionaire Mohammed Dewji has been abducted, a government minister said.

Dewji was seized by unidentified assailants on Thursday morning as he walked into a gym in the commercial capital, Dar es Salaam, the East African newspaper reported, citing Police Commander Lazaro Mambosasa. He was abducted by two foreigners, the Swahili Times reported on Twitter, citing Mambosasa.

“I’ve spoken to his father and the news of the kidnap of our friend Mo is true,” State Minister for Environment and Union Affairs January Makamba said on Twitter. “Mohammed has a family and young children. Help us by giving information that will help with his rescue.”

Dewji, 43, is the owner of Tanzanian industrial conglomerate MeTL Group and has served as a lawmaker for the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi party. His current net worth is about $1.5 billion, according to the Forbes Billionaires list.

MeTL is one of Tanzania’s biggest companies and accounts for about 3.5 percent of the country’s gross domestic product, according to its website. The company imports palm oil for soaps and detergents and consumer goods ranging from sewing machines to bubblegum and exports agricultural products including sugar, fertilizer and cashew nuts. It operates in 11 African including Ethiopia, Mozambique, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda, and employs 24,000 people.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.