The puzzle over the kidnapping of Africa’s youngest billionaire, Mohammed Dewji, 43, in Dar es Salaam can only be unravelled by establishing why and who tampered with security cameras at Colosseum Hotel where the tycoon was abducted last Thursday.
Failure by the CCTV cameras installed at the hotel to capture helpful images of the abduction has raised questions as to who might have tampered with the devices, for what motive.
The former Singida Urban MP and Simba Sports Club patron, popularly known as Mo, was kidnapped on Thursday around 5am at the hotel where he had gone for a regular morning exercise.
Police say two white men, probably foreigners, arrived at the hotel in a Toyota Surf, abducted the businessman, fired in the air before they disappeared.
To date, there has been no clue from either investigators or relatives on the whereabouts of Mo; who might have carried out the kidnapping and why.
Police have so far arrested and questioned 26 people in connection with the crime, 19 of whom have been released on bail.
Mo’s family announced a record Tsh1 billion (Ksh44 million) reward for anyone who would provide information that would help find him.
Even though, one question regarding the abduction has refused to go. To what extent has the security cameras that are available along one of the most secured roads – Haile Selassie –- and neighbourhood of Colosseum Hotel helped to identify the abductors?
As soon as the reports of Mo kidnapping went viral, Dar es Salaam regional commissioner Paul Makonda and the Dar es Salaam special police zone commander Lazaro Mambosasa told reporters that initial reports indicated that the abductors were white men driving a Toyota Surf.
“The cameras inside the hotel have shown us what is available, but not what went on outside on the road where they (kidnappers) passed,” Mr Makonda said.
Later, Mr Mambosasa told reporters that the abductors used a Toyota Surf but could not clarify whether the car and the white men were captured by CCTV cameras or it was an eyewitness account.
He hinted that the images of the CCTV cameras at the hotel were faint and couldn’t show the pictures clearly.
However, follow-ups by The Citizen revealed that the many places along the Haile Selassie road which was used by kidnappers were installed with powerful CCTV cameras to capture images close to the hotel.
Our investigations revealed that more than four houses close to the hotel heading to Masaki where the kidnappers allegedly fled to, had been installed with security cameras capable of capturing images of vehicles passing along the Haile Selassie road.
Yesterday, a security guard at residential apartments close to Colosseum hotel who sought anonymity told The Citizen that moments after the kidnapping, police arrived at the apartments overlooking the hotel and ‘collected data from the security camera’ that enabled them to identify the car.
“Police came here the same day of abduction. I was on duty that day. When they realised they couldn’t collect helpful images at the hotel, they came here and took what they needed and left,” said the source at the hotel.
Mr Mambosasa admitted yesterday that they had to use security cameras installed in the nearby apartments.
Meanwhile, the unresolved abduction has led to a tussle between the government and the opposition over calls to allow external investigators to join the hunt for the missing businessman.
The opposition spokesperson for home affairs Godbless Lema yesterday asked the government to invite foreign experts to resolve the abduction, accusing the police of not showing any serious resolve to find the businessman and arrest his abductors.
But in a quick response, Home Affairs deputy minister Hamad Masauni declared there was no intention within government to allow foreign investigators as the local police were capable of doing the work.