Tanzanian billionaire Mohammed Dewji. Picture: @MeTL_Group

Dar es Salaam/Nairobi - Africa's youngest billionaire, snatched a week ago off the street outside a luxury hotel in Tanzania, has returned back home safely, police said on Saturday.

Mohammed Dewji, 43-year-old CEO of the METL Group family conglomerate, was seized as he arrived for a morning workout in Tanzania's commercial capital Dar es Salaam last week. Forbes estimates his net worth as $1.5 billion, making him Africa's 17th richest man and its youngest billionaire.

Lazaro Mambosasa, Dar es Salaam's police commander, told Reuters that Dewji was abandoned by his kidnappers in the city's Gymkhana area at 2:30 am local time.

Dewji had been detained in a house in an area where police were set to search as part of a house-to-house investigation, he said.

Mambosasa added that Dewji was unharmed apart from bruises on his hands and feet where they were tied.

"He told us that they treated him very well and gave him food," he said.

Dewji did not know who his abductors were but believes they were from South Africa, his office told Forbes Africa.

Dewji's family had offered a reward of 1 billion Tanzania shillings (R7,2 million) for information leading to his release, though it was not immediately clear how much the kidnappers had demanded

"I have returned home safely," METL Group quoted him as saying on its Twitter feed, without providing more details about how he was freed or got away from his captors.

The company also quoted him thanking those who had worked for his release, including the police.

The seizure of Dewji, who has also served as member of parliament in the past, had caused consternation in the East African nation as he is one of its most prominent business executives.

METL Group is involved in a diverse range of manufacturing, farming, transport, infrastructure, agroprocessing and telecoms businesses spanning 11 African countries. 

Reuters and IOL