Mohammed Dewji is not only the youngest billionaire to be abducted this year but also Africa’s sixth

Updated: Oct 15, 2018


So where were the bodyguards?



According to one of Tanzania’s newspapers, The Citizen, Mohammed Dewji becomes the sixth billionaire in Africa to be abducted in 2018.


So the question is why are so many ultra wealthy businessman and entrepreneurs being targeted and kidnapped this year? And perhaps more importantly how are these kidnappers able to pull off their crimes?


As the gap between the world’s mega rich and the grindingly poor widens people will become desperate and ultra successful individuals will become even more appetising targets for unscrupulous criminal syndicates not only in Africa but worldwide.


Who is Mohammed Dewji?


According to the BBC:


“Financial magazine Forbes puts his wealth at $1.5bn (£980m), and has described him as Tanzania's only billionaire. In a 2017 report, it said Mr Dewji was Africa's youngest billionaire.


Mr Dewji is also a major sponsor of one of Tanzania's biggest football teams, Simba.”


“Mr Dewji, locally known as Mo, is credited with turning his family business from a wholesale and retail enterprise into a pan-African conglomerate, reports the BBC's Athuman Mtulya from Dar es Salaam.


His company, MeTL, has interests in textile manufacturing, flour milling, beverages and edible oils in at least six African states.


Mr Dewji served as a ruling party MP for a decade until 2015. He told the BBC in a 2014 interview that this possibly made it easier for him to meet top politicians, but it did not give him an unfair advantage, as other businessmen also had access to them.”


So the question that will be on everyone’s lips is why wasn’t Mr Dewji under the protection of highly trained professional bodyguards under the employ of a professional executive close protection company?


The BBC provides us with the answer as according to Caroline Lewis a former MeTL employee:


“Mohammed Dewji has huge celebrity status in Tanzania. You would be hard pressed to find a person in Dar es Salaam who did not know of Mohammed or the Dewji family and he would often draw large crowds at public events.


But despite his wealth and fame he has always been incredibly relaxed in his approach to security - in fact all the Dewji family were.


He never moved with security guards or bouncers and would often pop out to the gym on his lunch break or to meet friends after work unaccompanied.”


As stated by Lewis Mr Dewji has always been ‘incredibly relaxed’ about his security. Which can be an admirable quality in someone with a huge amount of wealth, success or celebrity status as it often underscores a person without a massive ego. Alas in the modern world it can prove to be a commendable attitude that ultimately proves unwise. As most certainly has proven to be the case in this instance.


So why would such a well known billionaire popularly known as “Mo” leave himself vulnerable without the protection of highly trained bodyguards for hire?


I believe the answer lies in two parts:


Firstly Mr Dewji probably feels uncomfortable with the thought of having to be surrounded by menacing armed bodyguards on a day to day basis – my previous empirical experience has shown me this time and again. Clients far prefer their protectors to be kind, well articulated and relaxed in their service, though the bodyguard must have his bona fides, usually by being licensed, highly trained and he must of course know how to handle himself - Something usually established through in-depth knowledge of the operatives professional background. A balance of being nice and approachable and formidable and strong that is so challenging to get right but which is something Christie and Associates strives hard to achieve.


And secondly Mr Dewji probably sensed or certainly knew of no threat, as has been demonstrated in numerous articles he is a much loved figure within Tanzania. So he probably thought he had nothing and no one to fear.


The truth is that executive close protection companies like Christie and Associates are usually only called in once a threat has been identified or at least perceived. And of course sadly and very unfortunately only after an incident like this has been carried out.

It was very much the same during my time while serving in the South African Police Force; people only really updated their home’s security systems after they had had their home invaded by armed criminals. Often installing burglar bars, electric fencing and alarm systems only once the security of their home had been breached sometimes with unimaginable results.


And the same again while working as a bodyguard in London – professional private bodyguards only usually get the call once something has already happened or right before a client thinks something horrible might occur. And often to people that should never have been without professional personal protection in the first place.


Incidents like these can teach us though and help prepare others for what may come. It’s never too late to update your security procedures and if you’re part of the 1% of this world there is absolutely no excuse for not adequately protecting yourself and the ones you love, your family. Just because you do not perceive a threat, does not mean that none exist.


Calling in a modern executive close protection/bodyguarding company doesn’t have to mean hiring muscle bound thugs with guns. Contracting the right security company specialising in security consultancy and bodyguards for hire may surprise you. The modern bodyguard is much more than muscle for hire. He is in fact first and foremost a security adviser and someone that can blend into a ultra successful person’s life as an assistant, adviser and sometimes simply be introduced as a friend.


A modern day bodyguard and contracted close protection firm is there to provide support through consultancy first, looking at the client’s diary and travel movements and advising on how best to avoid risk all together, or at least minimize it, rather than trying to deal with dangerous and potential life changing incidents as they happen. Though who better to be with you in a life threatening situation than a former armed police officer or soldier now turned professional bodyguard for hire.


C Christie,

Managing Director,

Christie And Associates

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