Fahim Saleh, co-founder and CEO of Gokada, during an interview with Reuters in Lagos last year - Reuters
Fahim Saleh, co-founder and CEO of Gokada, during an interview with Reuters in Lagos last year – Reuters

A personal associate of a tech entrepreneur who was found decapitated and dismembered in his Manhattan flat has been arrested, according to reports.

Fahim Saleh, 33-year-old founder of the popular motorbike-hailing app Gokada, was discovered in his $2 million (£1.6m) apartment on Tuesday, in a grisly killing that shocked the city and made international headlines.

The arrested man was expected to be charged with second-degree murder, the New York Times reported. 

Detectives believe Mr Saleh had discovered that the associate had stolen tens of thousands of dollars from the company.

A police official told the paper that it appeared as though Mr Saleh knew about the alleged theft and had set up what appeared to be a repayment plan.

The apartment complex in Houston Street, Manhattan, where Fahim Saleh was found dead - Reuters
The apartment complex in Houston Street, Manhattan, where Fahim Saleh was found dead – Reuters

The Saudi-born Bangladeshi entrepreneur’s body was discovered by his sister, who appears to have interrupted the murderer as he was cleaning up.

She had gone to check on Mr Saleh after not hearing from him for a day.

She found his body had been decapitated and dismembered, the parts placed into separate plastic bin bags. A power saw and cleaning supplies were found plugged in nearby.

A New York City medical examiner’s report released on Thursday found that he died of multiple stab wounds to the neck and torso. 

It is thought the killing took place on Monday and that the suspect returned to the flat on Tuesday to dismember the body.

Security camera video showed Mr Saleh in the apartment building’s lift with a man in a dark suit, mask and gloves. Video footage showed the suspect following Mr Saleh into the seventh-storey building, where a struggle began.

Murdered entrepreneur Fahim Saleh had moved from Saudi Arabia to New York, where he grew up - Instagram
Murdered entrepreneur Fahim Saleh had moved from Saudi Arabia to New York, where he grew up – Instagram

He used a Taser to immobilise Mr Saleh and then stabbed him to death. 

News of the arrest was reported by several outlets on Friday, including Associated Press, quoting police sources. However, a spokesman for the New York Police Department disputed the reports, saying as far as he was aware they did not have anyone in custody.

Mr Saleh, who grew up in New York after moving from Saudi, founded a ride company called Pathao in 2015 and in 2018 the Gokada motorbike hailing app.

Gokada was widely used in the Nigerian megacity of Lagos until state officials in February banned motorcycle taxis, known locally as “okada,” which dealt a serious blow to the company.

Mr Saleh’s LinkedIn biography described him as a self-taught businessman who founded Gokada, building on his experience of first “seeing an opportunity in his parent’s native country of Bangladesh” and starting that country’s largest ride-sharing company. It said he also invested in a similar venture in Colombia.

“We at Gokada are shocked and saddened to hear that Fahim Saleh, our founder and CEO, passed away under tragic circumstances in New York earlier this week,” the company said in a statement posted to social media on Wednesday.

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